§ Sir JOHN BATTY TUKE
asked the Postmaster-General, with reference to his recently issued regulation permitting future candidates for Post Office employment to be exempt from revaccination on making a statutory declaration that they conscientiously believe that revaccination would be prejudicial to their health, if he is aware that evidence was given before the Royal Commission on Vaccination that many Post Office employés become subject to the risk of infection from small-pox in a degree exceeding that of the general population, and that the Commission's Report emphasised the fact that amongst Post Office employés there had not been a single death from small-pox between 1870 and 1880, which period included the smallpox epidemic in London of 1870–72, and only ten slight cases of the disease; had he before taking this step availed himself 742W of the opinions of his medical officers throughout the country, who are responsible to him for the maintenance of the health of his staff; if so, does the new regulation accord with the opinion of his medical officers throughout the country; is he aware that in other branches of the Government service, such as the Army and Navy, revaccination is rigorously insisted upon; what is his reason for permitting Post Office servants to be exempt from similar regulations, seeing their acknowledged greater risk of infection; and does he intend to continue to insist upon primary vaccination in all candidates for employment in the Post Office in the future?
§ Mr. BUXTON
I am acquainted with the evidence given before the Royal Commission on Vaccination and with the references to the Post Office in their Report. This House has laid down that a conscientious objection to vaccination is to be recognised as absolving the objector from penalties because of non-vaccination; and I have, therefore, in common with the Local Government Board and the Board of Education, felt it incumbent on me to relax the rules in regard to re-vaccination in accordance with the spirit of the general law on the subject. Primary vaccination is insisted upon by the Civil Service Commissioners in respect of all candidates for established appointments throughout the Civil Service. There would be considerable practical inconvenience in applying a different rule in the case of unestablished appointments.