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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Victorian government faces calls to follow lead in vaccination roll out

Health Industry Hub | May 27, 2024 |

Pharma News: The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is urging the Victorian Government to implement a state-wide vaccination initiative targeting infants, aiming to combat respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). This appeal follows similar initiatives in Western Australia, New South Wales, and Queensland, where RSV immunisation for infants has already been introduced.

RSV, a prevalent respiratory infection, stands as a leading cause of hospital admissions among infants aged 12 months or younger. Since 2009, there has been a notable uptick in global RSV hospitalisations, with Australia reporting over 128,000 cases last year alone, spanning from mild to severe symptoms.

Dr Anita Muñoz, Chair of RACGP Victoria, emphasised the life-saving potential of immunisations for vulnerable infants, stating, “This is an opportunity to prevent hospitalisation of babies and saves lives. Other states have taken action here, either making immunisations available to all new babies or through more targeted efforts.”

Clinical trials have shown promising results, with a single dose of Sanofi’s Beyfortus (nirsevimab) demonstrating an impressive 83% reduction in hospitalisations due to RSV-associated infections among children.

According to the Federal Department of Health and Aged Care’s disease surveillance tool, Victoria has witnessed a concerning surge in RSV cases, escalating from 3,400 cases in the first quarter of 2024 to 8,584 cases in the current second quarter, surpassing Queensland figures for May.

Dr Muñoz elaborated on the severity of RSV, emphasising its impact on paediatric hospitalisations annually. She highlighted the significant strain it places on children aged five and under, with up to a quarter requiring intensive care treatment. She underscored the distressing ordeal this poses for young families.

“With an immunisation program to match the one in Western Australia, we can keep children out of hospital beds, save families from a terrible experience, and be proactive about public health to relieve pressure on our health system, including our already under-pressure hospitals,” she stated.

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