The United Kingdom Vaccination Act 1853 made vaccination against smallpox compulsory

The Vaccination Act 1853 made it compulsory for all children born after 1 August 1853 to be vaccinated against smallpox during their first three months of life. Parents who failed to get their children vaccinated would be subject to a fine.
By the 1860s, two-thirds of babies were vaccinated, and as a result there was a fall in the death rate due to smallpox (Brown, 2010). However, reports of deaths and outbreaks created doubts about the effectiveness and safety of vaccines, and vaccination was opposed by people and organisations such as the anti-vaccination leagues (Williamson, 1984).