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Summary of the Issues by
This Webpage Administrator
In Australia
Summary of the Issues by
This Webpage Administrator
In Australia



Please read the caution and disclaimer page, I am not a veterinarian / medically / scientifically/ legally qualified.


Let me declare that I am not anti-vaccinations. My horses are vaccinated against Strangles and Tetanus, one receives regular Pentosan shots, all of which I administer on vet’s prescription and supply.

I vaccinate. But only where:

The vaccination is a necessary treatment or necessarily preventative on the balance of probability that my horses could contract the illness

The vaccination has been thoroughly tested

The vaccination has proven to be highly effective against /for treating the targeted illness / infection / situation

The vaccine has a proven track record of not causing complications / reactions within a reasonable timeframe (not only 24-48 hours) after vaccination

For me, my personal assessment of the Zoetis Equivac HeV Hendra vaccination after having undertaken this research has led me to the following conclusions.  It’s up to individual horse owners and handlers to make their own assessment.

My research shows that no person has ever been casually infected by Hendra virus. It’s a fragile virus that survives for a short time in very specific conditions. All recent human infections show that human infections occurred when the person had close, unprotected contact with an infected animal’s bodily fluids. My investigation regarding the history of human Hendra infections reveals documented evidence that the only people ever infected failed in their own responsibility to wear appropriate protection or follow hygiene protocols when dealing with animals that were known to be infected with something, victims of their own negligence where five of the seven were educated professionals or staff.

PPE, proper medical grade hygiene and other horse management procedures have been shown to greatly reduce the risk of transmission of the virus from bats and horse to horse and horse to humans.

The APVMA, the government authority who registered the Zoetis Equivac HeV Hendra vaccination has allegedly stated that this vaccine is registered (and the vaccine information in the product packaging states) its purpose is as “an aid in the prevention of clinical symptoms of the disease caused by Hendra virus”

An AID does not guarantee PREVENTION

PREVENTION OF CLINICAL SYMPTOMS does not guarantee immunity, though as horses die from the clinical symptoms, though vaccination will probably AID in preventing horse deaths.

IMMUNISED HORSES CAN STILL CONTRACT HENDRA AND SHED THE VIRUS.  They are still infectious but no symptoms will mean handlers won’t know it.  As I interpret this - HUMANS AND OTHER HORSES CAN CATCH HENDRA FROM VACCINATED HORSES.

Immunising a horse is a false representation of an Occupational Health and Safety measure to protect humans and should not be promoted as such.

Masking the clinical symptoms of a horse with the Hendra infection increases the likelihood of handlers not taking appropriate precautions and/or becoming less vigilant. This has the potential to increase human infections.

The APVMA has published a list of adverse reactions. They claim that they are within the expected numbers per number of doses of this vaccination. I personally don’t consider the number and type of ‘officially recorded reactions’ acceptable or representative of the true picture.

Regarding the number of anecdotal vaccination reaction accounts appearing on the internet- I suspect that the official number of acknowledged reactions on the APVMA list is only a small percentage of the real numbers. The APVMA has a narrow definition of the time frame that a reaction can be attributed to, anything outside the time frame isn’t a reaction according to them.

I do not think it is simply coincidence that there are so many anecdotal reports of many horses falling gravely ill with the common factor being a recent Hendra vaccination?

Despite the vaccines APVMA registration, with this level of controversy, untested and unknown comments on the vaccination packaging along with what would appear to be clear misinformation from veterinarians, government bodies, product advertising and others, I am led to believe that this vaccination has not been tested for long enough on a sufficiently large sample of horses before it’s release.

‘Off Label’ administration automatically discounts any alleged reaction being counted. To be defined as a reaction the vaccine should not have been administered (as stated in the product literature) to a sick or immunocompromised horse. The problem arises when the sickness/ immunocompromised horse shows no symptoms and is undiagnosed, perhaps it is so minor that it is ignored?  Despite vets administering the vaccinations there appears to be some failures in checking a horse’s health before vaccination.

THERE ARE EXAMPLES OF MISLEADING ADVERTISING LITERATURE FOR THIS VACCINATION: some in the veterinary profession, even Government organisations and professional organisations and businesses have made misleading statements about casual human infection and the ability of the vaccination to PREVENT Hendra infections in horses and therefore block the ability for vaccinated horses to pass on the Hendra infection to other horses and people.

The ‘No Vaccination-No treatment’ policy adhered to by some veterinarians shows a level of contradictory behaviour on their part. What is their policy regarding vaccinating an unvaccinated horse?  Do they say no because the horse is unvaccinated?  How do you get a horse vaccinated when a veterinary surgeon needs to do the vaccination, what are owners meant to do? So will they attend to vaccinate an unvaccinated horse who may/may not be harbouring the virus but not if the same horse has wounded itself?

Regarding vets and the ‘No Vaccination-No treatment’ policy -   PPE is effective in protecting against Hendra infection. The cost of vets PPE is subsidised by the Queensland Government in that state. Veterinarians are trained medical professionals; shouldn’t owners expect that appropriate PPE and professional levels of infection control are employed at all times? The fact that it is apparent that in some instances it hasn’t been in the past, is a poor reflection on a profession that clients used to trust.

As a horse owner, this situation has cautioned me to read the label and box insert for my horse’s medications and to watch my veterinarian and horse dentist's PPE and infection control practices, after all Hendra isn’t the only nasty bug around.

Referencing the information on ;


and the development of a human Hendra vaccine:

This information, if true, raises a number of issues for me-

The ethics and legalities of a commercial for-profit company, Zoetis, making profit from and antibody was given to Queensland health with the understanding that it wouldn’t be used on a commercial basis.


My research has indicated that this monoclonal antibody cell line was used in the development of the Zoetis Equivac HeV Hendra vaccine for horses. How does this fit with the conditions that this monoclonal antibody cell line was provided?

The behaviour of Queensland Health in this matter


What stage is the development of a human vaccination against Hendra at ?

A Human vaccine would solve the O.H.S. issues that veterinarians and horse handlers have with the Hendra virus transmission from horses.

Would it be too cynical of me to suspect that the large-scale promotion of the Zoetis Hendra vaccine for horses is s desperate attempt by Zoetis to profiteer from their product before a human vaccine is available as this would seriously damage the sales or their equine vaccine?





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