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Bluetongue vaccine set to be available from July

Farming chiefs have welcomed the news that a Bluetongue vaccine will be available from mid-July.

Alice   Singleton

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Alice   Singleton
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A vaccine for bluetongue is said to be available from mid-July
A vaccine for bluetongue is said to be available from mid-July

An agreement has been signed with CZ Veterinaria SA to distribute its bluetongue vaccine throughout the UK.

 

Produced by Zoetis, the vaccine will become available to veterinary practices in mid-July for farmers and smallholders to help manage the risk of a bluetongue outbreak predicted to reach mainland UK by late summer.

 

Following the announcement, the NFU is now urging farmers to speak to their vet about the vaccination to ensure risk is understood.

 

Welcome

 

Charles Sercombe, NFU livestock chairman said: "This is really welcome news for the industry and we strongly urge farmers to discuss vaccination with their vet in order to fully understand the risk to their business considering their system and geography.

 

"These conversations should be ongoing because as the situation in France and mainland Europe changes the risk will change in the UK.

 

"We are calling on manufacturers and vets to be clear on the vaccine pricing and availability.

 

"Farmers will base decisions on whether to vaccinate on a number of factors, with price and availability featuring highly.”

 

Campaign

 

Vets across the UK are also contributing to the Joint campaign Against Bluetongue (JAB), helping to make farmers aware of the risk, clinical signs and what action to take, through speaking at local JAB information events and displaying posters and leaflets in practices.

 

Veterinary organisations are also seeking clarification about the cost of the vaccine, and how much is likely to be available from July.

 

President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), Sean Wensley said: "We welcome the announcement that vaccine will be available in time to meet potential demand.

 

"This disease seriously affects animal health and welfare as well as the productivity of livestock, and vaccination is the key control.

 

Clarification

 

"While it is good news that vaccine will be available, we know that both farmers and vets will have questions about cost and whether there will a limit to the amount of vaccine available in July. It would be helpful to have these questions clarified as soon as possible.

 

"We recommend farmers speak to their local vet about the benefits of vaccination, taking into account their locality and individual circumstances. Farmers should not hesitate to seek advice if they have any concerns about their livestock.”

 

The risk of a bluetongue outbreak remains under constant review by Defra as the disease develops and the weather warms up, promoting midge activity.

 


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