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efficient performance of vaccination by the persons already or thereafter to be contracted with as aforesaid.” Any money provided by Parliament for the expenses of the National Vaccine Establishment, or otherwise for the supply of vaccine lymph, was to be applied under the directions of the Privy Council; who might make inquiries from time to time as to matters concerning the public health, and as to the observance of their regulations and directions.
The Privy Council were also authorised to appoint a medical officer, at a salary not exceeding 15001. a year, who was to report to them from time to time on any special matters, and likewise to make an annual report of a general character, which was to be laid before Parliament.
This Act was passed for one year only; but in the following year it was made perpetual by the 22 & 23 Vict. c. 3, which was passed on 1st August 1859.
The Act of 1858, however, contained a clause (sect. 8) with respect to the institution of legal proceedings under the Vaccination Acts, which was repealed, or rather was allowed to expire, when the rest of the Act was made perpetual by 22 & 23 Vict. c. 3. In consequence of the abrogation of that clause, no specific provision existed on this point for the next two years; but in 1861, an Act (24 & 25 Vict. c. 59) was passed, "to facilitate proceedings before justices under the Acts relating to Vaccination," by which the Guardians (or Overseers) were empowered to appoint some person to conduct such proceedings, and were required to pay the costs out of the poor rates, on the certificate of the justices, or court, before whom the proceedings might be taken, whether such proceedings were instituted by the person so appointed, or by any registrar of births and
deaths, or by any medical officer of health appointed under an Act of Parliament.
Shortly after the passing of the first Act (3 & 4 Vict. c. 29), the Poor Law Commissioners issued a circular to the several Boards of Guardians, dated 20th August 1840, calling the attention of the Guardians to the provisions of the Act, and the steps to be taken to carry them into execution. This circular was accompanied by a “ Form of Notification in respect to the extension of Vaccination,” and by a copy of a Minute of the Poor Law Commissioners “ with respect to the preparation of Contracts for the extension of Vaccination,” in which a form of contract was suggested. These documents will be found in the Appendix to the Seventh Annual Report of the Poor Law Commissioners (1841), pp. 144-161; and in their Official Circular, issued 1st September 1840,
The form of contract above alluded to was superseded by the General Order issued by the Poor Law Board, on 30th November 1853, in consequence of the passing of the Act 16 & 17 Vict. c. 100.
In the course of the same year (1840), the Poor Law Commissioners also issued several circulars and minutes on points arising out of the operation of the first Act (3 & 4 Vict. c. 29), which will likewise be found in the Appendix to the abovementioned Report, pp. 161-169; (see also the Official Circular, issued 10th November 1840, pp. 122-128). These related chiefly to the mode of paying and charging the expenses; the mode of dealing with the then existing medical contracts; the persons to be comprised in the respective districts; the question whether vaccination was to be considered as relief; the question whether the payments for vaccination were to be made out of the poor rates; and with reference to the contracts for vaccination, some further
considerations as to the number of attendances, and as to the stations.
In the same Report (pp. 39–43), the Commissioners gave an account of the proceedings under the Act, up to the date of the Report, viz. 1st May 1841; and observations on the same subject will be found in their subsequent Reports, as well as in the Reports of the Poor Law Board. The last Annual Report of the Poor Law Commissioners was the fourteenth, dated December 1847; and the Poor Law Board made their first Report in December 1848. See also the Official Circular, 6th February 1841, pp. 145–147, and June 1848, pp. 254– 256.
In 1853, after the passing of the Act 16 & 17 Vict. c. 100, which rendered vaccination compulsory, the Poor Law Board took certain steps, which are described in their Sixth Annual Report, pp. 10–12, in the following passage:
“ The other Act, namely the 16 & 17 Vict. c. 100, relating to vaccination, has also proved of much importance, and has required and received much of our attention during the latter part of the year.
In 1840, the Act 3 & 4 Vict. c. 29 was passed, which, with the view of extending the practice of vaccination, required Boards of Guardians in unions and parishes, and Overseers of parishes where there were no Guardians, to contract with their medical officers or with some medical practitioners for the performance of the operation of vaccination upon such poor persons as were brought to them for the purpose, and the regulations were placed under the control of the Poor Law Commissioners. This was the first legislative enactment upon the subject. The earliest proceedings of the Commissioners to carry
into effect this enactment, which was slightly amended by an Act in the subsequent year (4 & 5 Vict. c. 32), were detailed in
their Seventh Annual Report, and the measures adopted by Boards of Guardians to give effect to the Act have been shown in each successive report of the Board.
The Legislature during the last session rendered the vaccination of infants compulsory upon their parents, and the statute 16 & 17 Vict. c. 100 imposed penalties upon parents, and others having the care, nurture or custody of infants, who neglect to cause such infants to be vaccinated within a few months after their birth. It also imposes some further provisions and obligations upon Boards of Guardians to secure means whereby the poor may more readily obtain the performance of this operation.
The Act requires that certain amounts of remuneration shall be paid as minimum rates in the cases of all contracts entered into after its date. It is also rendered necessary that the fact of the successful vaccination of a child shall be registered by the public registrar, in like manner as the birth is registered under the Registration Acts. For such registration a fee is to be paid as the fee for registering the birth is paid, which it will be remembered is a charge upon the poor rate.
We issued a circular letter, dated the 6th of September last, to all Boards of Guardians, in which we brought under their notice those provisions of the statute which particularly related to them, and we have been engaged for several months in correspondence with the Guardians in reference to the alterations in the previous arrangements and contracts which the new Act has rendered necessary.
The Poor Law Commissioners after the passing of the 3 & 4 Vict. c. 29, framed a form of contract for the use of such Boards of Guardians as deemed it right to provide contracts in writing with the medical officer or medical practitioner who engaged to vaccinate in their unions or parishes, and the Commissioners issued an order addressed to the several unions embodying the form of such contract.
It became apparent that new contracts to be entered into under the Act of last session would not be quite consistent with those which had been prescribed by the Poor Law Commissioners.
We therefore considered it advisable to frame a new form of contract to be adopted hereafter, and, having done so, issued a general order to all unions in which the former orders prescribing the forms of the contract were rescinded, and the new form of contract substituted, a power being reserved for modifying the same in particular cases. This order is dated 30th November 1853. We have in preparation a similar general order for parishes under Boards of Guardians.
It was apparently intended by the Legislature that the vaccination districts should correspond with the registration sub-districts; and the Registrar-General having called our attention to this point, we addressed a letter, dated October 29th, to the Boards of Guardians, in which we communicated his suggestions, and recommended the Guardians, as far as they could, to make their new arrangements for vaccination correspond with those previously established for registration. We regret to state that, although this result was obtained in some few instances, it has been found to be for the most part unattainable.
The information which has reached us from various quarters leads us to believe that a very great number of persons have been vaccinated during the latter half of the year.”
In the year 1853, also, Instructional Circulars, dated 29th September and 4th October, were addressed by the Registrar-General to the Registrars of Births and Deaths, on the subject of the Act 16 & 17 Vict. c. 100.
In pursuance of the powers conferred on the Privy Council in relation to this matter, by the Acts of 1858 and 1859, the Council, on the 1st December 1859, issued regulations relating to the qualification of contractors and their deputies, the performance and inspection of vaccination, and the registry of the cases; together with instructions to vaccinators.
Some of the provisions in the Act of 1840 (3 & 4 Vict. c. 29), referred to Ireland; but those provisions,