1840 Act to Extend the Practice of Vaccination

The 1840 Act to Extend the Practice of Vaccination was passed in 1840. The Act permitted Poor Law guardians to appoint medical officers to vaccinate people at public expense (ie a free service for the individual concerned).

The Act also outlawed variolation (or inoculation), which was the practice of deliberately infecting a person with material (such as pustule fluid) taken from a sick patient, in the hope of inducing a milder infection, thereby giving some immunity.

A year later, the 1841 Act to Amend and Extend the Practice of Vaccination was passed, making free vaccination available outside of Poor Law relief.

Source(s)

Collins C.
Smallpox and the antivaccinationists.
The Biomedical Scientist.
2009; 388–3.