Queensland Health announces rollout of Paediatric Respiratory Syncytial Virus Prevention Program

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Last updated 4 April 2024
Queensland Health announces rollout of Paediatric Respiratory Syncytial Virus Prevention Program

Queensland Health has announced the rollout of the Queensland Paedatric Respiratory Syncytial Virus Prevention (QPRSVP) Program, beginning early May 2024. This program provides free Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) immunisation to eligible Queensland infants and young children.

This program is expected to alleviate pressure on paediatric health care services across Queensland, including in hospitals and primary care, as experienced in recent Northern Hemisphere RSV programs.

Information on how to access RSV immunisation outside of birthing hospitals will be made available prior to the commencement of the program.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) background information

  • RSV is the most common cause of hospitalisation in infants and young children in Queensland, with almost all children experiencing at least one RSV infection within the first 2 years of life

  • the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved a preventative monoclonal antibody nirsevimab (available in Australia under the brand name 'Beyfortus')

  • nirsevimab, a long-acting antibody injection that provides immediate immunity against RSV infection, is approximately 80 per cent effective in reducing infant hospitalisation due to RSV. It provides protection against RSV for at least 5 months.

About the QPRSVP program

Under the program, eligible infants and young children will have access to nirsevimab in select primary care vaccination service providers.

Due to anticipated supply constraints persisting throughout 2024 and into early 2025, Queensland Health will work closely with peak medical bodies and primary care partners to manage access to this limited supply. This is to ensure infants and young children at highest risk of severe disease from RSV are protected.

Commencing no later than Wednesday 1 May 2024 (most likely from Monday 15 April 2024), the following infants and young children will be eligible for RSV immunisation:

  • all newborn infants — this will be offered as a dose at birth or prior to discharge from hospital

  • infants born on or after the program commencement date who are not immunised in hospital, can access this dose up until they are 8 months old

  • First Nations infants younger than 8 months

  • infants with certain complex medical conditions who are younger than 8 months

  • infants with certain complex medical conditions who are 8 months up to 19 months old (inclusive), until Thursday 31 October 2024.

More information

More information on the program, including details on eligibility under the complex medical condition cohort will made available prior to the program’s commencement.

Information on how to access RSV immunisation outside of birthing hospitals will also be made available prior to the commencement of the program.

Stay update on the latest program information at, https://www.health.qld.gov.au/clinical-practice/guidelines-procedures/diseases-infection/immunisation/paediatric-rsv-prevention-program.

Read coverage on the announcement from ABC News: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-03-25/qld-rsv-jab-explainer-who-is-eligible/103630628