NATHAN Anthony (SCR Letters, February 23), I will respond to your defence of the Hendra vaccination.
The effectiveness of the vaccine in the face of an outbreak, has not been tested, is a correct statement. But that is totally different to years studying and developing the vaccine.
A total of 41 horses were used as case studies in the vaccination trials. All horses were euthanised at the conclusion of the testing, therefore any recurring reactions to the vaccine were not recorded. I question whether a total of 41 horses is sufficient for a vaccination trial.
Even Zoetis, the manufacturer of the vaccine states in its directions for use, under the heading ‘Contraindications and Precautions’: “The effect of this product on pregnant mares or on horses intended for breeding is not known, therefore use in these animals must be weighed against the risk of serious illness or death from disease caused by infection with Hendra virus.
“The extent and duration of effect of booster doses of vaccine have not been studied. There is no data to support the use of this vaccine in sick horses.
“The effectiveness of EquivacHeV vaccine in the face of Hendra virus disease outbreak has not been studied.
“Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be worn whenever HeV is suspected even in vaccinated horses as no vaccine can provide a guaranteed protection.”
The vaccine is not a registered vaccine and comes under the heading of Minor Use Permit. It is permitted for use in areas of high risk, wherever in Australia that area might be.
The APVMA data base has a register for vaccination reactions, some minor, some extreme and lingering for many, many months. There are records of death ensuing after the vaccination injection.
If the vaccine doesn’t compromise the immune system, then why does treating the horses with immune boosters and liver cleansers, have the reaction to the vaccine lessened? Some horses have ongoing side-effects to the vaccine for months after the injection.
I do not need a university book or degree to tell me this. The power of observation is the most valuable and highest form of education available today. This has been my teacher for nearly 50 years.
The one in 100 million risk of contracting Hendra is 65,000 times higher than dying in a motor vehicle accident; you are 1000 times more likely to be murdered.
The risk is real and genuine for vets who deal with unknown pathogens while performing autopsies or invasive surgery without proper personal protective equipment.
People have contacted their veterinarians over vaccination reaction concerns, to no avail. There are an awful lot of coincidences as an excuse, used by some vets.
The public needs to know the truth about how difficult it is to contract this virus. Scientists believe it has been in existence before human settlement in Australia. There has never been an outbreak at a horse event. There has never been a person die from general contact with a sick or injured horse.
I love a plausible argument, Nathan, but you need to actually read the findings, as I did, correctly as stated by AAHL, APVMA, CSIRO, DPI, Biosecurity Queensland and even AVA.
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