Bottle for diphtheria vaccine with a hypodermic syringe

Maker and role
Burroughs Wellcome: Manufacturer
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Held by the Science Museum
Copyright: The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum
During the Second World War, British Red Cross volunteers helped give diphtheria vaccines to families evacuated from their homes due to bombing.

Diphtheria is now rare in the UK because of vaccination programmes that began in 1940 when the death rate from diphtheria was high. Cases fell from 46,281 (2,480 deaths) in 1940, to 37 cases (6 deaths) in 1957.

When did the British Red Cross begin providing health and social care services?
In 1919, the British Red Cross began its peacetime role and added the improvement of health and the prevention of disease to its objectives. The organisation has a long history of supporting the NHS with various health and social care services, including mass vaccination programmes.
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