Australia Equine Influenza: Vaccination Update

Common Questions on Vaccination
    Vaccination will not:
    Stop horses becoming infected with the equine influenza virus.

    Replace the need for strict biosecurity. Biosecurity measures must continue--even when immunity has developed--until all infected animals have stopped shedding the virus.

    Vaccination will:
    Reduce the severity of clinical signs of horse flu, enabling faster recovery from infection.

    Reduce the quantity of virus excreted by infected horses, reducing the chance of spreading the virus.

    Vaccination with ProteqFlu will:
    Provide significant immunity within 14 days of the first of two injections.

    Provide six months protection after two injections. A booster dose after five months will provide protection for about one year in total.

    Vaccination with ProteqFlu can:
    Complicate diagnosis of EI. Additional testing may be required to confirm diagnosis.

    Be used safely on foals, pregnant mares, lactating mares, and older horses, but not on sick or high risk horses, such as those that have had severe pneumonia.--NSW Department of Primary Industries

According to the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Primary Industries, as of today there are 3,055 equine influenza infected properties, 330 dangerous contact properties, and 369 suspect properties. Queensland officials have reported 601 infected properties.

In NSW, vaccination started Saturday in the Southern buffer zone, which is located in the Southern Highlands. Approximately 300 horses were vaccinated yesterday. The vaccination program will then proceed through the other buffer zones: Gloucester, Dubbo, Armidale, Parkes, Mudgee, and Berry, throughout this week.

The first round of vaccinations is expected to be completed in all NSW buffer zones by mid October. Planning for the second round (booster vaccinations) of all horses in the zones is underway.

The vaccine is only available for uses approved by the Chief Veterinary Officer. Only veterinary practitioners who have been specifically inducted and authorized by NSW Department of Primary Industries are permitted to perform vaccination and only in circumstances prescribed by the Chief Veterinary Officer.

In Queensland, vaccination was scheduled to begin last weekend. Veterinary officials there planned to vaccinate horses in specific targeted areas, focusing on large groups of horses that have a significant impact on the local economy, such as racehorses and high-performance sport horses.

The vaccine is not, and will not, be available for all at-risk horses. Owners should note that vaccinated horses can still be infected, could be carrying the virus, and can infect other horses, or be a source of contamination. The vaccine simply acts to reduce the severity of infection and the excretion of virus, thus limiting the spread of the disease.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from Learn More