The early days of an industry – an 1846 perspective on Ye Vaccinations……..

“Aha, aha, quoth he – I know what to do”

“At present it might be hoped that such a calamity could be at least partially prevented by vaccination. It is obvious, however, that the physical character of the country renders it peculiarly difficult to carry this out satisfactorily. It could scarcely be done in any other way than for the physician to divide the islands into perhaps five districts, and to look after the vaccination in one of these each year, by turns, by making a double tour, so that he would manage to reach each village twice, with eight days’ interim, the first time to perform the vaccination, the second to learn the results.

“But it would be unreasonable to require such an inconvenience of the appointed physician without a corresponding remuneration, since, apart from other hardships, by such a long absence from Thorshavn as would be involved, he would lose a part of the income from practice to which the medical practitioner would be entitled.


“This much, at least, is clear – that vaccination such as is now performed on the Faroe Islands is entirely unreliable and futile. The fact is that a rustic is delegated to travel around the country to vaccinate the children. For this purpose, he is provided with vaccine and a needle or lancet, and is instructed how to go about the operation. This rustic then engages in each village a man, who can write, to inspect the children eight days after vaccination and to write to the provincial surgeon as to whether or not the vaccine has taken.

“However, since on the one hand, it is quite doubtful, in fact in many cases even improbable, that the man who is to inspect the children has ever seen a characteristic vaccine pustule, and, on the other hand, there is [the] question as to whether, to serve his neighbour or countryman, he is not capable of telling a slight falsehood, [as] the inhabitants are often loath to have their children vaccinated, because they fear the grafting in of foreign diseases, and so on. [endp19]


“If, then, a complete reform is to be effected on the Faroe Islands in regard to vaccination, as is certainly most desirable, especially [as] freer conditions of trade are to be expected, it will not only have to be undertaken by the physician himself, in double trips as suggested above, but it must also be carried out for all persons without exception, so that certificates of vaccination hitherto issued should excuse none from this slight operation.”


The early days in the development of the Global Scam. Young Doctor Ludvig Panum went to the Faroe islands, betwixt Iceland and Norway, in 1846, to tend to/examine and describe a measles outbreak in which, overall, 102 people or 1.31% of the 7782 population died. In the same period 153 people died of other causes.


The original manuscript is here: file:///U:/PanumFaroeIslands.pdf.

(Thanks to Gareth Hawker for introducing to me this fine book!)

About greencentre

Non grant supported hence independent scientist, green activist, writer and forest planter.
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