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Diphtheria

Volume 393: debated on Tuesday 9 November 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many children who had been inoculated against diphtheria developed diphtheria during the period for which the records have been collected; how many of these received a full course of inoculations; in how many of these was there a fatal termination; and whether he will have these and all other facts relevant to diphtheria immunisation published in the summarised Annual Reports of the Department of Health for Scotland?

During 1941, 1942, and the first half of 1943, 3,580 children under age 15 who had been inoculated against diphtheria developed the disease. According to my information, all these children had undergone the full course of inoculations but in some cases sufficient time may not have elapsed after inoculation to allow full immunity to develop. In 18 cases the disease ended fatally. During the same period the number of non-inoculated children of the same age group who developed diphtheria was 12,818, and among these there were 805 deaths. By the end of the period the total number of children in this age-group who had been inoculated was about double the number who had not. A general reference to the scope of the immunisation campaign was made in the summary reports of the Department of Health for Scotland, published in 1942 and 1943. I shall, however, keep in mind the hon. Member's suggestion for future reports.