The CSIRO scientist who developed the Hendra virus vaccine is recommending fewer injections be given to horses to protect against the deadly illness.

Currently boosters have to be given every six months and horse owners have told the ABC they fear their horses are becoming ill and in several cases dying as result of “over-vaccination”.

“At the moment the evidence we have is that after the six-month booster you can maintain levels of protection in horses for at least a further 12 months, possibly even longer,” CSIRO’s Deborah Middleton said.

“I certainly have sympathy for owners who feel their horses are being over-medicated because I think any vaccination carries the risk of a vaccine reaction and all the more reason to be very certain that we’re only giving horses the minimum number of vaccines we need to give them protection against Hendra virus.”

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