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Full report

"A review of Australia’s preparedness for the threat of foot-and-mouth disease"

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RECOMMENDATIONS The Review Team recommends that:

1. Australia prepare as though vaccination will be an essential component of the response to an FMD outbreak in Australia, while recognising that it will be essential in certain scenarios but may not be required in others. Clear national guidelines on when vaccination would be useful in Australian conditions and decision-making criteria covering the most likely scenarios for vaccine use should be developed and documented as soon as possible.

2. The timeframe for the FMD response policy review should be accelerated. In collaboration with industry stakeholders, AHA and DAFF should seek to reach agreement on outstanding policy issues within six months of the acceptance of this report, to be followed by Primary Industries Ministerial Council endorsement of the updated policy in 2012. The Australian Government, in collaboration with Animal Health Australia, should exercise leadership in driving the resolution of these outstanding issues.

 3. To assist with the development of contingency plans that adequately address the human resource requirements of a vaccination campaign, an on-ground simulation exercise should be undertaken to specifically assess the resource requirements of an emergency vaccination campaign across multiple species in each state. The simulation should seek to establish the workforce requirements necessitated by current arrangements (including nationally agreed standard operating procedures and Primary Industries Ministerial Council principles for the use of vaccination) when applied to state livestock populations and a severe-case scenario outbreak. The simulation exercise could also inform the development of policies and operating procedures that would help provide a clearer picture of where and how vaccine would be used.

4. Based on the outcomes of the simulation exercise, DAFF and the states should revisit contingency plans to ensure that trained personnel of sufficient number are available in an outbreak to deliver an emergency FMD vaccination program-from the initial deployment phase through to the proof of freedom phase. Contingency plans should adequately address the issues of just-in-time training, decontamination of vaccination teams, and the management of occupational health and safety issues.

5. Innovative solutions to establishing and training an emergency workforce to carry out the vaccination campaign be considered, including but not limited to: - engagement with local communities and associations - engagement with producer groups and livestock-related associations - engagement with public health institutions, education institutions (such as TAFEs) and student bodies (including medical) - both advanced and just-in-time training arrangements.

 6. Industry stakeholders-as part of business continuity planning-identify strategies for managing consumer confidence and maintaining the viability of domestic markets.