Norwich – Augustus Jessopp and Vaccines 150 Years Ago

150 years ago today, on 25 February 1871, the Norwich Mercury printed a letter from Augustus Jessopp, the Headmaster of Norwich School, about the matter of vaccinations. He was referring to the small-pox vaccination and he noted a report that said:

“It is advisable that when small-pox appears in a neighbourhood, all persons who have not distinct well-marked scars of vaccination on their arms should be re-vaccinated. It is doubtful whether any ill effects ever follow careful vaccination from a healthy child, but if all that is said against it by its enemies is true, it cannot for one moment outweigh the benefits which can be traced as distinct results of its performances”.

The Government had enforced a compulsory vaccination programme for children against small-pox in 1853, but this was fought against a backdrop of those who didn’t support vaccines as it was a myth, that it was unnecessary or that it would harm children. I wonder if anything really changes over the centuries…..