Leading vets said the vaccine would be ‘ready to go’ if the industry demanded it.
Farmers have called on the industry to highlight their appetite for the reintroduction of the Zulvac Schmallenberg (SBV) vaccine in light of the resurgence of the virus in the UK.
The virus has so far been confirmed in the North East, North Yorkshire, Wales, the South East and South West, with more recent cases found in West Wales, Devon, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire.
Farmer Michael Waycott, Devon, said it was ‘ever so important’ a case was made to bring back the vaccine, after he lost two pedigree Suffolk lambs to SBV.
He said there was a mutual concern over how far the situation must go before the vaccine could be made available again.
He said: “People are not reporting it, this is the trouble. The only way we can make our case for a vaccine is if people send carcases to a veterinary investigation centre and make it known there is a demand for it.”
But vet Carolyn Hogan of Zoetis, the firm which manufactures the vaccine, said a poor uptake following production in 2015 left her questioning if farmers actually wanted it.
She said: “We are in a lively discussion across Europe to look at manufacturing capabilities and how quickly it can be produced if there is a farmer demand for it.
“It is in everyone’s best interest to prevent heavy disease losses, so if people want a vaccine we want to and can produce it.”
Changes since 2015 mean Zulvac SBV is now a single dose vaccine for sheep and has a three-week onset of immunity.
But before the vaccine is able to recirculate, Ms Hogan said the industry needed ‘some kind of green light’ from farmers.
She added: “At what point do you question when this should be part of your annual vaccination system? Do you take the risk and then take the hit when it happens? Or do you say this should become part of my routine flock vaccination?
“This is what farmers should be thinking about with their vets.”