Children Must Be Vaccinated

August 15, 1929

State Law Requires This Before A Child Can Enter School


One Case Of Smallpox Is Too Many, Says Director Of State Department Of Health, And We Have The Sure Means Of Protection

Because two out of every three prospective first graders who have been examined at the child health conferences held throughout the State under the auspices of the State Bureau of Child Hygiene, in preparation for their admission to the school in the full, had not been vaccinated against smallpox, Dr. R. H. Riley, director of the State department of Health, calls attention to the State law which requires a child to be vaccinated before he or she can be enrolled in school.

“The schools will reopen in a few weeks,” Dr. Riley said, “and the youngsters who go up for enrollment can not be accepted by any teacher unless they have been vaccinated against smallpox. Our Maryland law requires the vaccination of young children, preferably in infancy, but positively before they are enrolled in school. Before the children enter school, the responsibility rests upon the parents. If for any reason, the parents have failed to have it done by the time their child reaches school age, the teachers have no choice in the matter, but under the State law, have to exclude the child from school until it is done. Furthermore, the law provides that a teacher who enrolls an unvaccinated child, shall be fined “ten dollars for each and every offense.”

“Last year, out of a total of 3,531 children, 3,153 white and 378 colored, ranging in age from five to seven years, who were examined at the pre-school conferences held during the spring and summer months throughout the counties, 2,115 had not been vaccinated. Of these children, 3,132 were white and 227 colored. The proportion of unvaccinated children has been as great among the children who have been examined this year.

“The comparative freedom from smallpox that we have had in Maryland is due largely to the intelligent cooperation of the people of the State in the observance of the vaccination law. For the disease has by no means been stamped out. Terrific outbreaks are occurring constantly in other countries and in other parts of the United States. Wherever they have occurred they have been especially serious in sections without stringent variation laws.

“During a single week recently, the first week in July 147 cases of smallpox were reported in the U. S. Public Health Service by health departments in different parts of the country. The majority occurred in the Middle Western and Western States. The total for one week was more than four times as many as the total that we have had reported in Maryland in the last five years. Here in our record: 1924, (this part missing) — a total of 149. From the first of January, this year, to the end of June, we had a total of 8 cases reported in Maryland, in comparison with 15 during the corresponding period of last year.

“A single case of smallpox is one too many. The disease is contagious. We have an effective means of protection against it, in vaccinations. Children cannot protect themselves. Parents must have it done in time.

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