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Thursday, 29 April 1965

Senator McKELLAR (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Repatriation) - Senator Sir Walter Cooper intimated to me that he would be asking this question and I was able to obtain some information for him. It could be that only a small proportion of the Australian public has been vaccinated against smallpox. However, the possibility of the danger from an epidemic of smallpox being introduced into Australia from overseas countries is indeed very remote, as all travellers are required to be in receipt of a current international vaccination certificate. He asks further whether a publicity campaign to emphasise the wisdom of receiving vaccination against smallpox should be undertaken. The specific answer is, " No ", and this is my view. However, the Department of Health does encourage the States to undertake such publicity for the very good reason that this is their responsibility. The Queensland Department of Health and Home Affairs has shown a very lively interest in this matter and has a vaccination record that I think the Departments in other States might well emulate. Whilst the Commonwealth does not lead the field in publicity, because that is not in its bailiwick, I can assure the honorable senator that it gives every encouragement to those who are responsible for this publicity.

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