Farm bodies and researchers unite to boost Q Fever vaccine investment

Sheep Central, September 2, 2019

Hamilton’s Dr Dale Ford gives Casterton livestock carrier Mick Smith his Q Fever vaccination in 2015.

STATE and Federal Governments will be asked to sign up to a national partnership agreement on Q Fever to boost investment in developing an improved vaccine for the debilitating disease.

Six prominent agricultural and rural organisations have joined forces to raise awareness of Q Fever and its impacts on communities and workers.

The NSW Farmers’ Association, Australian Meat Industry Council, Country Women’s Association of NSW, National Farmers’ Federation, Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association, the Australian Meat Processor Corporation and Q Fever researchers are combining efforts on a National Q Fever Taskforce to advocate for better access to Q Fever vaccination.

The taskforce will ask state and federal governments to sign up to a national partnership agreement on Q Fever that will clearly define state and federal responsibilities for managing the disease, and provide a framework for government investment.

The taskforce also aims to have all tests and vaccination details contained on the National Immunisation Register, to ask the Federal Government to reintroduce funding for the National Q Fever Management Program, and to secure funding for research for a new and improved vaccine. The current vaccine is not suitable for people aged under 15 and requires screening to prevent severe reactions in those who have had previous exposure to Q fever.

NSW Farmers president, James Jackson, is a vocal advocate for Q Fever awareness following his own battle with the disease.

“Q Fever is a deadly disease, and it’s the last thing a farmer needs to be dealing with during an ongoing period of drought.

“We want to see governments of all levels coming together to address this crucial public health issue.

“New South Wales has led the way on funding awareness and new vaccine research – other states and the Federal Government need to step up to match this investment,” Mr Jackson said.

Australian Meat Industry Council chief executive officer Patrick Hutchinson said it needs to be clearly understood that Q Fever is not an occupational disease and is not restricted to any individual industry.

“Q Fever is a community health issue that can affect every person, young or old.

“The Q Fever Taskforce has been established to highlight the scale of the disease and the need to raise its awareness across Australia to businesses, governments at all levels, the medical fraternity and, of course, the general community.”

Industry groups seeking to join the Taskforce should contact Alexandra Bunton at NSW Farmers on [email protected].


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