Joint Media Release
The National Q Fever Taskforce welcomes the announcement yesterday by Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton that the Australian Government will invest $1.87 million to support the development of a new vaccine for Q fever.
The Taskforce was formed in 2019 to raise awareness of Q fever and its impacts on regional communities and workers, and to advocate for national action to address the risk of Q fever.
Q fever is an acute infection that can lead to debilitating long-term health issues, and because the bacteria that causes Q fever is spread from animals – mainly livestock – Q fever is an ongoing concern for regional and rural communities.
Farmers, those who work in the agriculture supply chain, their families, and communities at risk of Q fever continue to report issues with the affordability and accessibility of the Q fever vaccine in regional areas.
The existing vaccine is prohibitively expensive for many, and requires multiple visits to a medical practitioner with appropriate training to carry out testing and administer the vaccine. A further limitation of the existing vaccine is that it is not approved for use in children.
Advocating for investment in a new and improved vaccine has been a key priority for the National Q Fever Taskforce, which includes organisations representing the farm sector, meat industry, livestock transporters, regional communities and Q fever researchers.
The Taskforce congratulates the Morrison Government for this new funding commitment, which will support Q fever researchers – including the Australian Rickettsial Reference Laboratory and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute) – to investigate the dose-effectiveness of a new vaccine, prior to clinical trials.
Today’s announcement is a welcome response to the advocacy of National Q Fever Taskforce member organisations, who also acknowledge the allocation of funding by the Australian Government in June this year for research into the use of the current vaccine in adolescents.
The Taskforce is committed to working with governments and others to raise awareness about Q fever, to ensure that effective and affordable vaccines are accessible to those at risk of contracting Q fever and ultimately to minimise the negative impact of Q fever on the health of regional, rural and remote Australians.
The National Q Fever Taskforce includes the following organisations: