In October 2015, ABC News published a story about the flu shot for pigs.
The article revealed that the vaccine was only available in limited quantities in Australia.
“Australia has an unusually large number of pigs for a number of reasons,” the story said.
“They are very good at hiding.
They are very fast.
And they can be bred to produce a very high quality vaccine.”
The story also noted that some farmers in Queensland had raised pigs in a quarantine system.
“So, you’re going to have pigs that are going to be raised in quarantine conditions in the pig pens, they’re going, ‘Oh, my God, it’s going to kill me’,” the story quoted Dr David Bowers from the University of Queensland.
“There’s no way you can give the same shot to pigs that have not had the flu in quarantine.”
But that wasn’t the only problem.
There was also the matter of piglets being bred to be vaccinated with the vaccine.
“What happens is, they get a different strain of the influenza virus, so they’re very susceptible to the infection,” Dr Bowers told ABC News.
“And if they are exposed to the virus, they will develop an immune response and develop an infection.”
When it came to the flu vaccine, the ABC’s reporter at the time, Paul Fenton, had a different view.
“The problem with this is that the pigs have a different immune system,” he said.
A number of studies had shown that piglets had a higher risk of developing the influenza vaccine-resistance.
But the Queensland Government did not want to be in the market with the first-ever vaccine to be produced in Australia for pigs, which was produced by Merck.
Dr Bower and other researchers had to wait several years for a final version of the flu vaccination for pigs to be tested in pigs.
“It took six years for the vaccine to get through to the pigs, and we didn’t get it until we were able to make it commercially available,” Dr Fenton said.
The Queensland Government is working on a second version of its flu vaccine to try to help people who have recently recovered from flu.
Dr Fennon says the second version will be more sensitive to pig immunity.
“We are developing a better vaccine for the pigs,” he told ABC’s Insiders program.
“A better vaccine has got to be better, we’ve got to find a way of making sure it works for the different pig species and the different strains of the vaccine.”
But, he added, “we don’t want people to be left behind”.