Q fever vaccine
What is it for?
This vaccine protects you against infection by the particular bacterium (Coxiella burnetii) that causes Q fever.
Symptoms of Q fever include high fever, sweating, extreme fatigue, joint and muscle pain and rigors (shaking and muscle spasm as with fever), headache and sensitivity to light.
Some adults in Australia may be at risk of Q fever if they work with material that may be contaminated with the bacteria that cause Q fever (e.g. animal urine or faeces, and afterbirth material).
For more information, read the NSW Department of Health factsheet on Q fever.
Who should be vaccinated?
Vaccination for the general population is not recommended.
The vaccine is not recommended for children younger than 15 years old.
Vaccination is only recommended for specific groups of people who are older than 15 years and considered at higher risk of the infection including:
- abattoir and meat workers (and anyone who visits abattoirs regularly)
- farmers and shearers
- farm, zoo and wildlife workers, and animal transporters who may be exposed to cattle, goats, sheep, kangaroos and bandicoots
- veterinarians, veterinary assistants and veterinary students
- agriculture college staff and students (working with high-risk animals)
- laboratory workers (working with the bacteria or with veterinary specimens that may be contaminated)
- professional dog and cat breeders
- horticulturists or gardeners who may come into contact with dust, potentially contaminated by animal milk, urine, faeces or birth products.
Before you are vaccinated, your doctor will perform skin and antibody tests to see if you have already been exposed to the infection and are immune to it. If the tests show that you’re already immune you will not need to be vaccinated.
Anyone who needs to have the vaccine can be vaccinated at their own cost.
The safety of this vaccine has not been tested in pregnant women, so vaccination is not recommended.
Read more about what vaccines you can have if you are pregnant.
Women who are breastfeeding
The safety of this vaccine has not been tested in women who are breastfeeding, so vaccination is not routinely recommended.
Headache is a common side effect of the Q fever vaccine that may affect 1 to 10 in every 100 people.
Read more about vaccine side effects and safety.
Who can I ask about side effects?
If you’re concerned that you or your child may have had side effects related to a vaccine, seek medical advice. To report and discuss possible side effects, call the Adverse Medicines Events (AME) Line on 1300 134 237 from anywhere in Australia (Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm AEST).
- Rossi S, ed. eAMH [online]. Adelaide: Australian Medicines Handbook, January 2013.
- NSW Department of Health. Factsheet: Q fever. www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/infectious/qfever.html
- Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Office of Health Protection. In: The Australian Immunisation Handbook, 10th edn. www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/handbook10-4-15