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Two centuries of immunisation in the UK (part 1)
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  • Published on:
    Cowpox inncoluaiton scare 1806
    • Professor Andrew N.Williams, consultant community paediatrician Virtual Academic Unit, Children's Directorate, Northampotn General Hospital

    I welcome this important historical paper emphasising the continued extreme importance of immunisation over more than 2 centuries in effectively preventing avoidable death and disability in children .
    I was very surprised though, that the authors omitted a short paper published in the ADC in 2004 which related an 1806 inoculation scare in Northampton UK,. Northampton General Infirmary commenced giving free cowpox inoculations to the poor from 1January 11th 1804. In January 1806 there was an inoculation scare that led to a marked drop in public confidence after rumours of the death of a child Peter Bell. This was thoroughly investigated by the Infirmary Committee and in the Northampton Mercury of 10th January 1806 his parents had published a signed declaration that their son's death was nothing at all to do with the cowpox inoculation.
    Public confidence was then restored

    Williams A.N, A Vaccine Scare in 19th Century Northampton Arch Dis Child. 2005 Nov;90(11):1204.

    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.