Diphtheria (Immunisation)

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Health – in the House of Commons on 15th October 1942.

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Photo of Mr James Griffiths Mr James Griffiths , Llanelly

asked the Minister of Health the number of cases of diphtheria notified during this year; whether this shows an increase; whether the proportion of cases proving fatal shows an increase; and what steps are taken, or contemplated, to combat this disease?

Mr. Brown:

The number of cases of diphtheria notified during the first three-quarters of this year was 29,939. This represents a decrease of about 6,500 on the corresponding period last year. The provisional mortality figures for the first half of 1942 show a decrease of 8 per cent. on the corresponding figures for 1941. As the disease is most prevalent among children, it is being combated by the Government's policy of advocating immunisation of all children under 15, which has already resulted in the immunisation of over 3,000,000 children since the beginning of 1940, and the expansion of which is being actively pursued.

Photo of Professor Archibald Hill Professor Archibald Hill , Cambridge University

Does ray right hon. Friend expect to get sufficient children immunised by propaganda alone, against the counter-propaganda of interested agencies financed by sentimental old women?

Mr. Brown:

Yes, I expect propaganda methods to be sufficient.

Photo of Mr William Leach Mr William Leach , Bradford Central

Is the Minister aware that all his efforts so far have not reduced the death rate at all?