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Diphtheria (Immunisation)

Volume 393: debated on Thursday 4 November 1943

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asked the Minister of Health what is the meaning of the Ministry's advertisements in the Press and on the hoardings that immunisation is a protection against diphtheria, in view of the statement in the last Report of his Department that it has never been claimed that immunisation gives complete protection to the individual child and of the fact that 9,500 children, who have had the full course of inoculations against diphtheria, have developed diphtheria during the past three and a half years; and how he reconciles his advertisement with his Report?

There is no inconsistency between the advertisement and the Report. The latter shows that in 1942 the rate of incidence of diphtheria among immunised children was one-fourth or one-fifth of that amongst those not immunised and that the unimmunised child was from twenty to thirty times as liable to die from diphtheria as the immunised child. There is therefore a high degree of protection.