Equivac® HeV

The Importance Of Vaccination

The Hendra virus (HeV) causes a potentially deadly viral disease that can be spread from horses to humans. There are no known treatments for Hendra virus.

Hendra virus has only ever been reported in Australia*. It was first detected in Queensland in 1994, more recently it has been reported further south and west of the Great Dividing Range.


There are two basic forms of immunity – innate and active. Innate immunity refers to the inbuilt methods of defense that we all have from birth. These defenses range from the obvious such as the barrier provided by the skin through to microscopic immune cells that attack contaminants within a wound.

The problem with innate immunity is that it is not designed to target specific diseases.

Active immunity is more specific. It is developed in response or exposure to disease-causing pathogens such as bacteria or viruses.

Vaccines minimise the effect infectious diseases have on animals by stimulating a more specific active immune response in preparation for future exposure to the ‘real thing’.


Boosters are required for most vaccines during the initial time given to fully stimulate the active immune system. By giving boosters (repeated doses of a particular vaccine), the animal's immune response to that particular infection is quicker and lasts longer.

For full protection, it is vital that your horse receives the entire series of recommended vaccinations in the vaccine protocol.

The key diseases that all horses should be vaccinated against are tetanus, strangles, equine herpes virus and Hendra virus.

Equivac® HeV is for the immunisation of horses against the deadly Hendra virus. This potentially deadly virus can spread from horses to humans.

Since there are no known treatments for the disease caused by the Hendra virus, vaccination is the single most effective way to reduce the risk of the virus transferring from bats to horses and from horses to humans.1

The Hendra vaccine can be given to horses as young as 4 months of age and requires two doses between three and six weeks apart, an initial 6-month booster followed by annual boosters thereafter.

The Hendra Vaccination Registry is designed to help you easily look up the Hendra vaccination status of horses across Australia.

To check the recommended vaccinations against the key diseases affecting Australian horses, see our Vaccination protocol for infectious diseases in horses (under usage).


  • 1.Queensland Government, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. New information on the Hendra virus vaccine available. News release 13 May 2013. Available at: (Accessed 02/07/13).