Hinchinbrook MP calls for free vaccination program for Respiratory Syncytial Virus

15 March 2024

Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto MP with Morgan Oss and Henry Shorten.

Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader and State Member for Hinchinbrook, Nick Dametto, calls for the introduction of a free, state-wide Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccination program in Queensland.

Currently, Queensland Health advises that there is no existing vaccine for RSV, and research is underway for its development. [1]

Recently, the Western Australia (WA) Department of Health announced that WA babies will be offered immunisation against RSV.[2]

The Hinchinbrook MP stated he was made aware RSV is highly infectious and can lead to serious illnesses in babies such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia highlighting the pressing need for preventive measures.

“RSV effects on average 17,000 Queenslanders per year. Offering a free, state-wide RSV vaccination program for infants and children would significantly reduce the burden on our healthcare system and provide peace of mind to parents across the state,” said Mr Dametto.

“We are not calling for a mandatory requirement for RSV to be included in the childhood immunisation schedule however a vaccination program that would be offered to parents who are interested.”

The catalyst for the calls is the recent hospitalisation of Townsville resident, Miss Oss’ six-week-old son, Henry Shorten, at the Townsville University Hospital due to RSV, which subsequently led to him contracting bronchiolitis. During his stay, Miss Oss observed several other infants grappling with RSV-related complications, highlighting the pressing need for preventive measures.

“We received wonderful care at the Townsville University Hospital, and the compassion showed by the nursing staff especially helped to ease my anxiety at a very difficult time,” said Miss Oss.

“There were a lot of babies, some younger than Henry, in the ward with RSV at the same time – apparently it has been rampant in Townsville for months thanks to all the rain.

“We had been very careful not to expose him to too many people while little, but in the end he caught the virus which was just bad luck.

“I wish I’d had the option of a vaccine when Henry was born – there is so much to think about when bringing a baby home so having the government help parents out with this would be amazing and would be one less thing to worry about.”


Photo: Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto MP with Morgan Oss and Henry Shorten.

Media Enquiries: Caitlin Schofield – 0402 352 343

[1] https://www.qld.gov.au/health/condition/infections-and-parasites/viral-infections/respiratory-syncytial-virus-rsv

[2] https://www.wa.gov.au/government/media-statements/Cook-Labor-Government/Western-Australian-children-first-to-access-protection-from-RSV-20240305



Nick Dametto MP