The Vaccination Problem by Joseph Swan (1936) --Bookcover text
This book is the result of nearly forty years continuous research work on the subject of vaccination. The author began his study as a believer in vaccination, but was soon compelled, by the strength of the anti-vaccinist case, to change sides. He has, however, endeavoured to be scrupulously fair in expressing the views of his opponents. For the most part he allows them to state their point of view in their own words before proceeding to show where, in his view, they have gone astray. He has considered that this judicial way of handling the subject is not merely the only fair way, but it is also the way best calculated to meet the needs of open-minded enquirers into the question.
The book begins by briefly describing the origin and rapid spread of vaccination and the circumstances under which it was State endowed and enforced in almost every civilized country. Particulars are also given of the rise and development of the anti-vaccinist movement. Note is made of the work and conclusions of the Royal Commission which sat for seven years and, amongst other things, recommended the passing of a "conscience clause."
The theory of vaccination is discussed and details are given of the experience of smallpox and vaccination in the United Kingdom and in the British Army and Navy. The effect of sanitary improvements and measures of isolation, etc., in the control of smallpox is also dealt with.
A chapter on "Pure Calf Lymphits Varieties and Dangers" is followed by a lengthy chapter entitled "Vaccination Pros and Cons" which deals very comprehensively with all the strongest arguments put forward in defence of the operation.
A sketch of the propagandist activities of the various pro-and anti-vaccinist societies is included, also illustrative examples, confirming the views of the author, drawn from the experience of other countries, notably Germany, Italy and various Eastern countries, and the final chapter presents "The Summing-up."
A short appendix sets out in parallel columns a selection of opinions "for" and "against" vaccination put forward by registered doctors. These extracts bring to light the "amazing anomaly" involved in the repudiation of the States medical prescription of vaccination by doctors who have themselves been registered by the State as "duly qualified" to practice medicine.
There are indications that the subject of vaccination and its State support and enforcement must soon come up for reconsideration by Parliament.
A perusal of this book is indispensable to all who wish to be well-informed (either for or against) on the big issues which will be raised when that time comes.