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Sheep Wasting Disease (OJD) Prevention Vaccination Needle Stick Injuries

Document Type: Alert
Keycode: web only
Industry: Farming, 
Division Author: Manufacturing & Agriculture
Publication Date: 14 November 2005
Date First Published: 03 December 2004
Summary: Provides guidance to prevent the accidental self-injection of GudairTM vaccine used for controlling sheep wasting disease

The sheep wasting disease Ovine Johne's Disease (OJD) now has a means of prevention. This prevention is in the form of a single vaccination using a vaccine known as GudairTM, manufactured by CZVeterinaria, Spain and distributed in Australia by Pfizer Animal Health.

GudairTM vaccine has been registered for use in sheep and goats in Australia since 2002 and over 5 million sheep have been vaccinated. According to Windsor (2004), this vaccine is the most valuable tool available today for the control of Ovine Johne's disease (OJD). In its proper application, the vaccine needs to be used with considerable care and needs to be confined to use in sheep and goats (Windsor, Eppleston, Sergeant, Reddacliff, McGreggor, Bush, Toribio and Whittington, 2003).

It has come to the attention of WorkSafe Victoria that a number of users of the GudairTM vaccine have accidentally self-injected the vaccine raising concerns about the human safety of the vaccine. In a number of cases producers have required surgery to remove the vaccine material.

Most incidents occurred whilst moving amongst sheep in races or climbing into yards. It is vital that the vaccinator is appropriately controlled at such times i.e. either put down, held firmly in the hand or placed in a vaccine holster.

GudairTMvaccine is harmful if it is accidentally injected into humans, because it has been made specifically:

  • For use in animals and
  • To produce a prolonged and strong immunity in those animals.

It is therefore important that you handle GudairTM vaccine very carefully, and

  • Avoid accidental self-injection
  • Do not get GudairTM vaccine on your skin (especially broken skin), in your eyes, or in your mouth.

Take care to avoid accidental self-injection as this product contains mineral oil and is very irritant. It can cause pain and prolonged swelling (6-24 months) at the injection site and in the draining lymph nodes. Medical or surgical intervention may be required. In rare cases it may result in the loss of a finger if injected into a finger joint or tendon sheath.
In humans, accidental self-injection with GudairTM vaccine may result in a severe and long lasting reaction at the site of the injury (Some reports have been 6 to 24 months). There may also be general ill-health during this time. Allergic reaction may occur from repeated or prolonged exposure to the vaccine.

Prevention Measures
As a precaution ALL users of GudairTM should ensure that:

  • they read and fully understand the first aid and safety aspects contained in the label and material safety data sheets of GudairTM vaccine.
  • they are fully conversant with the use of GudairTM vaccine and its side effects particularly in the event of accidental self-injection occurring.
  • they are experienced in the animal vaccinating process and are able to safely deliver the product to the recommended site of inoculation i.e. high up behind the ear with subcutaneous delivery.
  • the animals to be vaccinated are well restrained prior to the vaccination taking place eg lambs vaccinated in cradles.
  • the vaccinator is appropriately controlled and not allowed to hang freely when handling sheep.
  • needles are removed with pliers.
  • needles are disposed of in an appropriate manner.
  • the operator is able to take up and maintain a safe ergonomic position whilst performing this work.
  • all obstacles around the working area are cleared away thereby decreasing the risk of slips, trips and falls during the vaccination process and emphasis is placed on good hygiene before, during and after the vaccination process.

Things you must do if GudairTM vaccine gets on your SKIN:

If your skin is unbroken:

  • Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.

If your skin is broken:

  • Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Apply a disinfectant solution, recommended for humans.

If you have a superficial needle- scratch:

  • Treat as for broken skin.

If the area of skin becomes inflamed

  • See a doctor and take the package insert and carton with you.

Things you must do if GudairTM vaccine gets into your EYES or MOUTH.

  • Rinse the exposed area thoroughly with tap water.
  • Seek medical advice and take the package insert and carton with you if irritation or discomfort persists.

Things you must do if you accidentally self-inject Gudair vaccine

  • In all instances of accidental self-injection contact and see a doctor as soon as possible, even if only a very small amount is injected, and take the package insert and carton with you.
  • Allow the wound to bleed freely.
  • Do not squeeze or interfere with the injection site.
  • Clean the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Keep the wound clean and dry.
  • If pain persists after medical examination, seek medical advice again.
  • Check your tetanus immunisation status and if necessary, have Tetanus shot(s).

Information on the treatment of accidental self-injection is available from the Poisons Information Centre 13 11 26 or Pfizer Animal Health Veterinary Services 1800 814 883.

Dr Peter Windsor (2004). The risk of self-inoculation with OJD vaccine. The Land newspaper

Windsor P, Eppleston J, Sergeant E, Reddacliff L, McGreggor H, Bush R, Toribio J and Whittington R (2003). Monitoring the efficiency of GudairTM vaccine in Australia. Proceedings of the Australian Sheep Veterinary Society 2003 -- Cairns Conference 13: 114-122

Legislative requirementsThe Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 requires employers to provide, so far as is reasonably practicable, a workplace that is safe and without risk to health.

Acts and Regulations

  • Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004

Acts and regulations are available from Information Victoria on 1300 366 356 or order online at

View the legislation at Victorian Law Today:

Further information

WorkSafe Victoria publications
Hazardous Substances (Code of Practice No. 24, 2000)
First Aid in the Workplace (Code of Practice No. 18, 1995)
Workplaces (Code of Practice No. 3,1988)
Manual Handling (Code of Practice No. 25, 2000)
Health and Safety in Shearing,
Chemicals Management in the Workplace

Copies of publications can be obtained by contacting WorkSafe Victoria on 03 9641 1333, or your local WorkSafe Victoria office. Other useful health and safety information is available on WorkSafe Victoria's web site: go to

Or contact our Advisory Service on 9641 1444 or toll free 1800 136 089.

Note: This material has been prepared using the best information available to WorkSafe Victoria. Any information about legislative obligations or responsibilities included in this material is only applicable to the circumstances described in the material. You should always check the legislation referred to in this material and make your own judgement about what action you may need to take to ensure you have complied with the law. Accordingly, the Victorian WorkCover Authority extends no warranties as to the suitability of the information for your specific circumstances.