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Medical Health Aged Care

WA first to secure infant RSV immunisation

Immunisation Foundation of Australia 3 mins read
Severe RSV hospitalises around 12,000 babies every year on average.

WA first to secure infant RSV immunisation

The first supply agreement in the southern hemisphere for the RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) infant immunisation known as Beyfortus will keep hundreds of Western Australian babies out of hospital, according to the Immunisation Foundation of Australia.


“The move by the WA Government to secure the RSV infant immunisation ahead of winter will safeguard some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Catherine Hughes AM, Founder and Director of the Immunisation Foundation of Australia.


“WA is a leader in the fight against vaccine-preventable diseases. It was one of the first to adopt a maternal whooping cough immunisation program, the first to provide influenza vaccines for children, and will now be the first to protect all infants against severe RSV,” she said.


“The rollout of Beyfortus in WA this year will provide learnings for other states and the Commonwealth on how to design and deliver a large-scale immunisation program to protect all infants against RSV. This must be a national health priority.”


As the number one cause of hospitalisation of Australian children under five years of age, and with up to one-in-four of these children requiring intensive care,1 RSV places a significant burden on families and our healthcare system.


Beyfortus is a one-off injection that provides protection for the duration of the RSV season (typically the end of autumn to start of spring for most of Australia). In clinical trials, the therapy reduced the number of infants hospitalised due to RSV-associated lower respiratory tract infection by up to 83%.2


Beyfortus has being widely used in Europe and the US ahead of and during the northern hemisphere winter.


“With an average of 12,000 RSV-related hospitalisations among Australian infants each year,1 broad access to Beyfortus has the potential to ease the strain on families and our hospital system during the winter months,” Ms Hughes said.


“The Immunisation Foundation of Australia will continue to urge all Australians to unite against RSV to reduce the threat posed by this highly contagious and unpredictable virus.”


Further information on RSV Antibody Therapy for Infants is available here.


Almost all children will be infected by RSV before the age of two. Babies under the age of six months are most likely to develop severe symptoms, including lung infections such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia.


It is difficult to predict which infants will develop severe RSV, with most hospitalisations occurring in otherwise healthy babies. Research indicates that severe RSV in infancy can potentially affect a child’s long-term health, increasing their risk of recurrent asthma, wheezing and allergies. For more information:


Email to be added to the Immunisation Foundation of Australia’s news alerts for updates on RSV and RSV immunisation in Australia.


Media contact: Catherine Hughes, 0421 488 391


Interview Opportunity

Catherine Hughes, Founder and Director of the Immunisation Foundation of Australia

Catherine is the founder of the Immunisation Foundation of Australia and Light For Riley, established after the death of her son Riley from whooping cough in 2015


Only days after Riley's death, Catherine and husband Greg successfully advocated for the introduction of free whooping cough vaccines for pregnant women, resulting in a sharp increase in awareness of the impact of whooping cough in babies and up to 90 per cent of Australian pregnant women choosing to protect their babies during pregnancy.


In 2016, Catherine’s infant daughter Lucy was hospitalised with severe RSV. She says: “I won’t lie. We were consumed by thoughts of Riley and a foreboding sense of ‘not again’.” Catherine’s story can be accessed here.


In 2022, Catherine was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her services to immunisation.




  1. Evohealth. Time to Act – Protecting our children from RSV. 2023. Available at:
  2. Dysdale, SB. Nirsevimab for Prevention of Hospitalizations Due to RSV in Infants. The New England Journal of Medicine 2023; 389:2425-2435. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2309189. Available at:


Key Facts:

The first supply agreement in the southern hemisphere for the RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) infant immunisation known as Beyfortus will keep hundreds of Western Australian babies out of hospital, according to the Immunisation Foundation of Australia.

About us:

About the Immunisation Foundation of Australia 

The Immunisation Foundation of Australia was established by the family of Riley Hughes, who have become vocal advocates of immunisation after the death of their son from whooping cough in 2015. Believing in the importance of parents and community-members standing up to support immunisation, the foundation’s mission is to inspire further community-based immunisation advocacy, helping to protect babies and families from vaccine-preventable diseases.


In 2023, the Immunisation Foundation of Australia ran Australia’s first ever RSV Awareness Week, which encouraged families impacted by RSV to share their stories. The campaign was supported by Karl and Jasmine Stefanovic.

The Immunisation Foundation of Australia envisions a world where families are no longer affected by the unnecessary suffering and death caused by vaccine-preventable diseases. To help make this vision a reality, we are committed to creating a network of community-based immunisation champions, who share our common values of respect, integrity and evidence-based advocacy. 

Contact details:

Catherine Hughes: 0421 488 391


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