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Kittens get priority in the face of vaccine shortage

five kittens

There is a shortage of feline vaccines in Australia due to supply problems triggered by the COVID outbreak.

Kittens and previously un-vaccinated adult cats are at most risk.

The annual F3 vaccination, which protects cats from parvovirus, feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus, is in short supply across the country triggering fear of an outbreak of these preventable diseases.

On the plus side, cats that have previously been vaccinated as kittens and have had boosters are at lower risk of disease because they have an extended duration of immunity. Vets may decide to give kittens two vaccines rather than three and keeping them in a safe environment until they receive a final vaccine in 16 weeks.

One result has been that shelters may stop accepting strays and relinquished cats. Another difficulty has been that catteries may choose not to accept un-vaccinated cats and, in some jurisdictions, are forbidden to by mandatory codes of practice.

It is expected that vaccine supply should return to normal early in 2024.

In the meantime, the key message from the Australian Veterinary Association is to “prioritise kittens and delay adult boosters if possible.”

For more information check out this paper developed by the expert working group.

To get the latest advice about your own situation, contact your vet.

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