Queensland Paediatric Respiratory Syncytial Virus Prevention Program

The Queensland Paediatric Respiratory Syncytial Virus Prevention (QPRSVP) Program will provide free Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) immunisation to eligible Queensland infants and young children.

Commencing from 15 April 2024, the program will be available in all Queensland birthing hospitals for newborn infants.

From 29 April 2024 parents and carers of eligible infants and young children can access nirsevimab from their routine immunisation provider. As there is limited supply of nirsevimab, parents and carers wishing to access this immunisation are encouraged to contact their routine immunisation provider to book an appointment ahead of time.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus

RSV is the most common cause of hospitalisation in infants and young children, with almost all children experiencing at least one RSV infection within the first 2 years of life.

RSV can have a potentially significant impact on infants and young children, as well as their families. This program is focused on protecting infants from birth, and well as those at highest risk of severe disease in the first years of life.

The Program

The QPRSVP Program will use Nirsevimab (brand name Beyfortus®). Nirsevimab is a long-acting monoclonal antibody that provides infants and young children protection against RSV for at least 5 months and has shown to be up to 80 per cent effective in decreasing infant hospitalisations related to RSV.

Nirsevimab has been determined by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to be safe and effective prior to its approval for use in Australia in November 2023.

Program Commencement and Eligible groups

Only infants and young children who are residents of Queensland can receive free nirsevimab under this program. A Queensland infant or young child is not required to be medicare eligible to receive nirsevimab under this program.

Nirsevimab will be available at all Queensland birthing hospitals (public and private) for newborn babies from 15 April 2024.

Other immunisation providers will be able to access nirsevimab via a special-order process, commencing from 1 May 2024. More information on this process will be made available prior to this date.

Due to global constraints on the supply of nirsevimab, Queensland Health is taking a considered approach for the 2024 program to ensure infants and young children at highest risk of severe disease from RSV are protected at the right time.

For infants who are born to a person who received RSV vaccination during their pregnancy, refer to the Clinical Guidance for Immunsiation Service Providers. (PDF 461 kB)

Under The Program the following infants and young children will be eligible for RSV immunisation:

All infants born on or from 1 February 2024
  • Offered as a dose at birth or prior to discharge from hospital.
  • Infants not immunised in hospital can access nirsevimab up to less than  8 months of age through primary care immunisation providers.
  • Once an infant reaches 8 months of age, they will no longer be eligible for this dose.
  • For infants who are born to a person who received RSV vaccination during pregnancy, see the Clinical guidance for immunisation service providers for advice.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants less than 8 months of age

  • Any First Nations infant born prior to the commencement of this program is eligible, providing they receive nirsevimab before they reach 8 months of age.
  • Once an infant reaches 8 months of age, they will no longer be eligible for this dose.
  • For infants who are born to a person who received RSV vaccination during pregnancy, see the Clinical guidance for immunisation service providers for advice.

Infants with certain complex medical conditions* from birth to less than 8 months of age

  • Any infant born prior to the commencement of this program, with certain complex medical conditions*, is eligible providing they receive nirsevimab before they reach 8 months of age.
  • Once an infant reaches 8 months of age, they will no longer be eligible for this dose.
  • For infants who are born to a person who received RSV vaccination during pregnancy, see the Clinical guidance for immunisation service providers for advice.
Young children with certain complex medical conditions* from 8 months to less than 20 months of age, until 31 October 2024
  • This is a time limited program – doses will only be available for eligible infants until 31 October 2024.
  • Once an infant reaches 20 months of age, they will no longer be eligible for this dose.
  • Due to the specialised nature of this cohort and supply constraints, stock for this cohort will be restricted (see details below).

*Infants and young children with any of the following complex medical conditions listed below are eligible for nirsevimab.

  • Prematurity (infants born less than 32 weeks gestation AND less than 12 months of age).
  • Chronic neonatal lung disease (neonates requiring home oxygen/other respiratory support) less than 20 months of age.
  • Infants less than 20 months of age with significant respiratory conditions requiring respiratory support such as tracheostomy, non-invasive ventilation (BIPAP or CPAP) or cystic fibrosis with severe lung disease or weight for length less than 10th percentile.
  • Infants with haemodynamically significant congenital heart disease, less than 20 months of age.
  • Severe primary immunodeficiency# less than 20 months of age AND not yet received curative treatment.
  • Trisomy 21, less than 20 months of age.
  • Infants less than 20 months of age post solid-organ transplant or end stage organ disease, awaiting transplant.
  • Infants less than 20 months of age AND currently receiving active chemotherapy.
  • Infants less than 20 months of age within 28 days prior to HSCT or prior to engraftment post HSCT.
  • Infants less than 20 months of age with neuromuscular disorders and associated with significantly impaired respiratory function such as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).
  • Other**

#At the clinical discretion of a Paediatric Immunologist

**Case-by-case discussion with a Paediatric Infectious Diseases Specialist

Nirsevimab Clinical Guidance for Immunisation Providers

Clinical Guidance for Immunisation Service Providers (PDF 461 kB) has been developed to support providers who order and/or administer nirsevimab in Queensland.

Consent form and information for parents and carers

The Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Nirsevimab Immunisation Consent form (PDF 204 kB) is available for immunisation providers to print and use when consenting parents or legal guardians for nirsevimab administration.

The RSV Immunisation Nirsevimab - Information for parents and carers (PDF 144 kB) fact sheet provides information for parents and carers to make an informed decision and consent for nirsevimab administration.

Where to access RSV immunisation

Nirsevimab will be available at all Queensland birthing hospitals (public and private) for newborn babies. Newborns already safely receive a dose of hepatitis B vaccine at birth as part of standard care. Nirsevimab can be given at the same time as vaccines routinely recommended for infants and young children.

Information on how to access RSV immunisation outside of birthing hospitals will be made available prior to the commencement of the program.

Ordering for providers

Immunisation providers can nirsevimab from the Queensland Health Immunisation Program (QHIP).

The supply of nirsevimab in Queensland will remain highly constrained throughout 2024 and into 2025. Queensland Health requests that all providers manage their stock with utmost care.

Due to the limited stock available, all providers will be asked to provide a complete stock count when placing nirsevimab orders. QHIP may need to retrieve unused stock for re-distribution to other sites.

All birthing hospital providers (public and private) and select Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services will receive an initial allocation of nirsevimab as part of the program rollout. These providers will be able to access ongoing nirsevimab supply as part of their routine immunisation ordering from QHIP.

All other immunisation providers will be able to access nirsevimab via a special-order process, commencing from 22 April 2024. More information on this process will be made available prior to this date.

Primary Care immunisation providers will need to take this process into consideration when booking appointments for parents/carers wishing to have their child immunised under this program.

Last updated: 15 April 2024