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NSW first round of vaccinations reaches half-way point 18 October 2007

NSW Minister for Primary Industries

The NSW Government equine influenza vaccination program is surging ahead with the first round of vaccinations reaching the half-way point, NSW Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said on Thursday.

Minister Macdonald said 5,292 horses had been vaccinated at no cost to horse owners by yesterday afternoon.

"A total of 15 vaccination teams are working today to keep the momentum going," Minister Macdonald said.

"And 13 centres have been established in buffer areas to co-ordinate the program at a local level and private vets have been drafted to get the vaccinations done quickly so that horses start to build immunity to the virus.

"Some vets have been coaxed out of retirement to ensure we waste no time in getting the vaccine to the horses that need it most."

Minister Macdonald also said the deadline for horses to be moved into the NSW equine influenza purple zone has been extended.

"Horse owners in NSW now have until 31 October 2007 to move their horses into a purple zone," he said.

"Remember horses can only be moved into the purple zone with a permit.

"The previous deadline for movement into the purple zone was tomorrow, but this date has been extended following recent changes in the boundary of the purple zone,"

Mr Macdonald said horse owners in the buffer areas were being contacted to pre-arrange a time for vaccinations to take place.

"The co-operation of recreational horse owners in particular has been excellent. In most cases they have had their horses yarded ready for the vaccination teams," Mr Macdonald said.

"Cooperation of horse owners is the key to eradicating this contagious disease, with everything from adhering to movement restrictions and disinfection requirements, to assisting vaccination teams being vitally important.

"The first horses to be vaccinated have now built significant immunity to EI, and when the second round of booster vaccinations begins soon, immunity to this insidious disease will only strengthen."

- Rob Burnett Thoroughbred News


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