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Victorian physicians had long accepted the science supporting vaccinations and successfully campaigned for compulsory smallpox vaccinations. However, responding to Britain's vocal anti-vaccination movement, Parliament passed the 1898 Vaccination Act, which allowed parents to conscientiously object to vaccinations. Doctors tried and failed to use medical journals, including the Lancet and the British Medical Journal, to formulate a coherent response to conscientious objectors. Bitter disagreements about the doctor's responsibility, diverging perspectives on public education, and distrust of the public's intelligence help to explain the profession's failure to convince the public of the value of vaccinations and the profession's authority on matters of medical science.