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DescriptionSome public vaccination services, usually through medical officers, had been provided across England through the Poor Law Unions since the 1840 Vaccination Act. Vaccination was made compulsory in 1853; legislation stipulated that parents must vaccinate their children within three months of birth. The registrars gave blank vaccination certificates to parents of newly born children, who had to return them within a specified time, signed by a medical man to indicate a successful vaccination, or face a fine. A further Act in 1867 strengthened the legislation and handed responsibility specifically to the Poor Law Guardians and in 1871 vaccination officers were officially appointed by the Guardians. Compulsory vaccination was abolished in 1949. The records here survive from the period immediately post-dating the introduction of the 1853 Act.
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