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A vaccine scare in 19th century Northampton
  1. A N Williams
  1. Child Development Centre, Northampton General Hospital, Northampton NN1 5BD, UK; anw@doctors.org.uk

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The controversy regarding immunisation is longstanding. Records from 1806 concerning a vaccine scare in Northampton give a flavour of events, which strike a contemporary chord.

The revelation of Edward Jenner’s 1798 seminal work meant smallpox mortality fell from 31% in unvaccinated children compared to 1.2% in vaccinated.1,2

Northampton General Infirmary made cowpox vaccination a high priority and was proactive in its approach, with free cowpox inoculation being undertaken on the hospital premises from 1804 onwards.3

On 10 January 1806 the Board of Governors dealt with a growing vaccine scare concerning alleged vaccine failure and one in …

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