Report recommends Hendra vaccine to be voluntary
AN INQUIRY into the Hendra vaccine has recommended not moving towards mandatory vaccination for horses in Queensland.
The Queensland government is supporting most of the recommendations made in the Agriculture and Environment committee's report on Hendra virus vaccine and its use by veterinary surgeons.
The final response, tabled last week, said the government was not making the vaccine mandatory and was supporting the right of discretion of equestrian event organisers to make their own decisions around conditions of entry.
Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Bill Byrne said the safety of all those involved in the treatment and care of suspected Hendra cases was the highest priority.
"It is the responsibility of all parties in Hendra cases to provide and adhere to the correct duty of care for everyone involved including veterinarians creating a safe workspace,” Mr Byrne said.
"As such we will not be proceeding with a recommendation to amend workplace health and safety regulations regarding veterinarians treating suspected cases of the Hendra virus.
"The Office of Industrial Relations had rejected the recommendation as not having sufficient regard for the accepted precedents of the statutory duty of care.
"I have been advised Workplace Health and Safety Queensland will be working with industry to review its guidance materials for veterinarians and other horse care professions on how to fulfil their workplace health and safety responsibilities.
"We want to make sure everyone involved in dealing with the Hendra virus is protected and to do this it is necessary to follow the best biosecurity practises available.”
Annette Goodchild, who stopped vaccinating her horses last year due to the side effects, said it was a good result from the inquiry, but not quite the outcome she would have liked to have seen.
"Making vaccination mandatory is still up to the discretion of the organising committees, we are lucky that there aren't any competitions that I attend that are forcing horses to be vaccinated,” she said.