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Packet of labels for vaccines, England, 1889-1945

These labels were produced for use by the London County Council Pathological Service, probably to label bottles of vaccine that were part of a London schools vaccination programme. The labels ensure that basic information about the type and strength of the vaccine is present as well as providing a reminder about how to extract it from the bottle. Vaccination is not without dangers and it is essential to know the quantity of vaccine used as too high a dosage can be harmful to health and too low a dosage can have no effect.

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Glossary: label

Pieces of paper, leather, fabric, or small tablets inscribed and affixed to something for identification or description. In the context of bookbinding, refers specifically to paper or other material separate from that used to cover a book, on which the author's name and the title are printed or engraved and glued to the spine or front board.

Glossary: vaccine

A substance given to humans or animals to improve immunity from disease. A vaccine can sometimes contain a small amount of bacteria that is designed to stimulate the body's reaction to that particular disease. The first vaccine was developed in 1796 by Edward Jenner to prevent smallpox.