Learn who's first in line for the mossie jab

Chris McLennan
By Chris McLennan
Updated March 14 2022 - 12:45am, first published March 13 2022 - 10:00pm
FIRST IN LINE: Piggery workers and there families have been placed first in line for the available vaccines against JEV.

Priorities have been set for the rollout of vaccines to help prevent more fatalities from the Japanese encephalitis outbreak.

There are 15 confirmed human cases of JEV in Australia - four in New South Wales, one in Queensland, four in South Australia and six in Victoria.

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There are two confirmed deaths from it.

There's no surprise piggery workers are top priority for jabs along with those working on the front line trying to contain the outbreak.

There are expected to more announcements on the vaccine rollout this week.

Pigs are known to "amplify" the mosquito-borne disease, and have already infected more than 20 piggeries in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

The federal government on Friday agreed to spend $69 million on vaccines and mosquito management systems.

These first jabs will be supplied from the national stockpile of about 15,000 doses.

The government will spend almost $30 million buying more vaccines from across the world - enough for an extra 130,000 doses.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said those new vaccines would likely be secured over the next month.

Communicable Diseases Network Australia was given the job of figuring out the priority for the jabs.

The CDNA is joint initiative of the National Health and Medical Research Council and Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council.

The following groups "have been prioritised" for vaccination:

  • people who work at, reside at, or have a planned non-deferable visit to a:
  • piggery, including but not limited to farm workers and their families (including children aged two months and older) living at the piggery, transport workers, veterinarians and others involved in the care of pigs
  • pork abattoir or pork rendering plant
  • personnel who work directly with mosquitoes through their surveillance (field or laboratory based) or control and management, and indirectly through management of vertebrate mosquito-borne disease surveillance systems (e.g. sentinel animals) such as:
  • environmental health officers and workers (urban and remote)
  • entomologists
  • all diagnostic and research laboratory workers who may be exposed to the virus, such as persons working with JEV cultures or mosquitoes with the potential to transmit JEV; as per the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

People outside this list have been urged to contact their local public health authority to find out if they should have a JEV vaccine.

Australia has two vaccines approved for use - Imojev and JEspect.

These vaccines offer immunity of up to five years.

Public health authorities around Australia are warning residents in high-risk areas like along river corridors or in flooded areas the best way to prevent JEV is to cover up, use repellent and avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

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Chris McLennan

Chris McLennan

National Rural Property Writer

ACM national rural property writer based in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria. Career journalist. Multi award winner.

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