WA first to secure infant RSV immunisation

Immunisation Foundation of Australia

The first supply agreement in the southern hemisphere for the RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) infant immunisation known as Beyfortus will keep hundreds of Western Australian babies out of hospital, according to the Immunisation Foundation of Australia.

“The move by the WA Government to secure the RSV infant immunisation ahead of winter will safeguard some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Catherine Hughes AM, Founder and Director of the Immunisation Foundation of Australia.

“WA is a leader in the fight against vaccine-preventable diseases. It was one of the first to adopt a maternal whooping cough immunisation program, the first to provide influenza vaccines for children, and will now be the first to protect all infants against severe RSV,” she said.

“The rollout of Beyfortus in WA this year will provide learnings for other states and the Commonwealth on how to design and deliver a large-scale immunisation program to protect all infants against RSV. This must be a national health priority.”

As the number one cause of hospitalisation of Australian children under five years of age, and with up to one-in-four of these children requiring intensive care,1 RSV places a significant burden on families and our healthcare system.

Beyfortus is a one-off injection that provides protection for the duration of the RSV season (typically the end of autumn to start of spring for most of Australia). In clinical trials, the therapy reduced the number of infants hospitalised due to RSV-associated lower respiratory tract infection by up to 83%.2

Beyfortus has being widely used in Europe and the US ahead of and during the northern hemisphere winter.

“With an average of 12,000 RSV-related hospitalisations among Australian infants each year,1 broad access to Beyfortus has the potential to ease the strain on families and our hospital system during the winter months,” Ms Hughes said.

“The Immunisation Foundation of Australia will continue to urge all Australians to unite against RSV to reduce the threat posed by this highly contagious and unpredictable virus.”

/Public Release.