New South Wales And Victoria Expand Access To Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine
Flood-driven mosquito-spread virus
New South Wales and Victoria will expand access to the Japanese encephalitis virus vaccine amid ongoing wet weather.
NSW Health has announced it has widened access to the JE vaccine from Friday 4 November.
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The JE vaccine is now recommended for people aged two months or older who live or routinely work in 39 Local Government Areas with identified JE risk in the west of NSW who:
- Spend significant time outdoors (four hours per day), for unavoidable work, recreation, education, or other essential activities, OR
- Are living in temporary or flood damaged accommodation (e.g. camps, tents, dwellings exposed to the external environment) that place them at increased risk of exposure to mosquitoes, OR
- Are engaged in the prolonged outdoor recovery efforts (clean up) of stagnant waters following floods
Executive Director of Health Protection NSW, Dr Jeremy McAnulty said that despite vaccine supplies continuing to be constrained in Australia, people most at risk should get vaccinated.
While the Victorian Health Department has said that while there are currently no confirmed cases of JEV in Victoria, flooding and heavy rainfall across the state could lead to a greater risk of mosquito-spread infections.
Vaccination against JEV is now available for anyone aged two months or older who:
- lives, or routinely works, in a high-risk area and spends significant time outdoors (four hours per day), for unavoidable work, recreational, educational, or other essential activities, or
- is living in temporary or flood-damaged accommodation that places them at an increased risk of exposure to mosquitoes, or
- is engaged in the prolonged clean-up of stagnant waters following floods.
Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Associate Professor Deborah Friedman said:
“While getting vaccinated is important, everyone should focus on preventing being bitten by mosquitoes. This includes wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing, using insect repellents, clearing stagnant water around your home, and avoiding areas with lots of mosquitoes, especially at dusk and dawn.
“We know mosquitoes don’t breed in initial flood waters, but that the risk increases as these waters recede and leave behind pools of stagnant water,” she warned.
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