The Hendra vaccination (Equivac HeV) become available to our region mid November 2012. It was devised not only to stop horses from getting Hendra but to also reduce the risk of humans acquiring this deadly disease. Horses become infected from the Hendra virus by bats and then it is the horses that can pass it on to humans and other pets. So, by protecting your horse you are protecting yourself and your family.
Unlike many other vaccinations Equivac HeV is under a special use permit and must be administered by a Hendra Vaccination Accredited Veterinarian (we have many of these in our practice).
- Must be microchipped (either previously or at the time of vaccination)
- Need to be healthy at the time of vaccination and at least 4 months of age
- 2 injections 21-42 days apart, immunity is achieved 21 days after second vaccination
- Injection site reactions can occur (2cm x2cm in size in some horses) or neck stiffness. These reactions are uncommon and typically resolve quickly within a few days without any treatment
- Any adverse reactions must be reported to the veterinarian. Veterinarians then must report them to Pfizer Animal Health Technical Services Helpline. Pfizer Animal Health will conduct a full investigation and supply necessary information for each event to the relevant government body for their review
- HeV vaccine is for use as a preventative measure and not as a treatment for Hendra disease in horses. There is no data to support the use of the vaccination during a Hendra virus outbreak
-There is no data testing the safety or efficacy of Equivac HeV in pregnant mares or animals intended for breeding. Use in these animals should be weighed against the risk of serious illness or disease caused by Hendra virus infection.
- There is no data testing the Equine HeV vaccine in conjunction with any other vaccine or treatment.
In trials, vaccinated horses did not become infected with Hendra virus or show clinical signs. However, appropriate PPE should be worn whenever Hendra virus infection is suspected, even in vaccinated horses, as no vaccine can provide guaranteed protections.