[The following points on BTV-8 vaccination, selected from the guidelines published by DEFRA, may be useful for those interested in the background to the vaccination campaign currently applied in several European countries. Subscribers are encouraged to refer to the full document. - Mod.AS]
2. Vaccination plan The aim has been to develop a vaccination programme which will: allow vaccination to be rolled out as quickly as possible, as vaccine is delivered; reduce the cost of vaccination to a minimum by using existing delivery chains and reducing regulatory burdens; and give farmers the freedom to take business decisions.
Under EU law, vaccination can only be carried out in a Protection Zone. Once vaccination is progressing broadly across the Protection Zone, the intention is to extend or modify the Zone in order to permit further vaccination, allowing a phased approach as vaccine comes on-stream.
DEFRA's published vaccination roll-out plan sets out the priorities for vaccination, and the order in which it is anticipated that vaccination will be rolled out.
3. Distribution of vaccine and licensing powers
The distribution chain for vaccine will be as follows:
Private vet or pharmacy; to
From the private vet or pharmacy onwards, possession of vaccine will be strictly licensed and can only be obtained if it is for immediate use; we have developed a system to monitor the distribution of vaccine. The use of vaccine will also be strictly licensed and will only be able to be used in a specific zone which equates to an area in a Protection Zone or a specific area within a Protection Zone. There is therefore a responsibility on everyone to ensure that vaccine is ordered, obtained and used responsibly.
4. Vaccine properties The Intervet vaccine has been licensed for sheep and cattle aged over one month. The primary course of vaccination will consist of one 1ml dose in sheep and 2 1ml doses in cattle given approximately 3 weeks apart. Full protection is established 3 weeks after the primary course. Thereafter, re-vaccination will be required 2 weeks before the period of risk.
The Merial vaccine has been licensed for sheep and cattle aged over 3 months. The primary course of vaccination will consist of one 1ml dose in sheep and 2 1ml doses in cattle given approximately one month apart. Thereafter, re-vaccination will be required 2 weeks before the period of risk.
If used in other ruminant species that are considered at risk of infection, its use in these species should be undertaken with care and it is advisable to test the vaccine on a small number of animals prior to mass vaccination. The level of efficacy for other species may differ from that observed in sheep and cattle. Vaccination in these species would have to be undertaken under the cascade system under the direct personal responsibility of a veterinarian. There will be no withdrawal periods if the vaccine is used in goats.
It is essential that the data sheet requirements with regard to storage temperature are strictly adhered to at all times. No data is available on the use of the Intervet and Merial vaccines together. It is therefore recommended that the same vaccine should be used for the primary course of vaccination in individual animals (i.e., the 2 doses in cattle). However, no problems are anticipated with re-vaccinating animals which have already received a primary course of vaccination with a different vaccine. You should speak to your vet for further advice.
5. Use of vaccines with other medicines No information is available on the compatibility of Bluetongue vaccines with any other so the safety and efficacy of Bluetongue vaccines when used with any other has not been demonstrated. In accordance with our usual advice for TB testing, it is not recommend that medicines -- including Bluetongue vaccines -- should be administered at the time of injection of tuberculin (i.e., your vet's 1st visit) in order to avoid any risk of interference with the TB test. No problems are expected with using medicines on the day of the reading of the skin test (i.e., your vet's 2nd visit). Please speak to your private vet for further advice.
6. Minimising costs and wastage Where appropriate, in order to minimise costs and wastage smallholders are encouraged to either purchase the smallest, appropriately-sized bottle or approach their vet about options for purchasing a smaller amount than a whole bottle. It is illegal for keepers to share vaccine bottles but vets are allowed to inject animals at different premises using the same bottle, or dispense individual syringes with a smaller amount (although this is likely to have an effect on the expected on-farm price). In doing so, it is important to remember that the cold chain conditions must be maintained and vaccine must be used, or disposed of, within 8 hours of opening a bottle.