Saturday, February 25, 2017

Australia: Hendra vaccine developers dismiss accusation of 'bullying' - Full Article

21st February 2017

by Emily Smith
DEVELOPERS of the Hendra vaccine have been accused by a state MP of "bullying" to sell their product, even though he helped prepare a report confirming the vaccine's effectiveness.

The committee inquiry into Hendra virus EquiVac vaccine and its use by veterinary surgeons in Queensland was first tabled in October last year, and was discussed further in State Parliament on Thursday.

It recommended that the vaccine should not be made mandatory, but vets should also maintain the right to refuse treatment to unvaccinated horses, effectively maintaining the current situation.

Yet under the protection of parliamentary privilege on Thursday, Mirani MP Jim Pearce criticised the attitudes of both vets and the vaccine's marketers Zoetis towards the virus.

Firstly he claimed vets were the "worst offenders" for not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), full body suits designed to stop humans coming into contact with the virus when treating a horse.

He then went on to state that he saw it as an example of a drug prepared in haste, not properly tested and it's potential consequences to animals "simply underestimated".

"Another thing that stood out to me and concerned me greatly was that it appeared to be driven by the dollar," Mr Pearce said in parliament.

"Zoetis, the manufacturer of the vaccine, was encouraging vets to not attend to a horse if it had not been vaccinated...

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