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News Release

News Release ref :484/07

Date: 19 December 2007

ORDER PLACED FOR BLUETONGUE VACCINE

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has today announced that it is placing a firm order with pharmaceutical company Intervet to supply 22.5 million doses of Bluetongue vaccine. This follows a full assessment of the three bids submitted during the tender process announced by Defra on 1 November.

Although no suitable vaccine is currently available for the strain of Bluetongue circulating in England (serotype 8), this order will ensure that vaccine will be available as early as possible next summer to control the impact of Bluetongue and ease movement restrictions on vaccinated animals.

In keeping with the principles set out in the Bluetongue Control Strategy, which was developed in partnership with the farming industry, livestock keepers will be offered the opportunity to purchase vaccine from the vaccine bank.

Animal Health and Welfare Minister Jeff Rooker said:

"I am pleased to announce that, following careful assessment of tenders for Bluetongue vaccine, Defra has chosen Intervet to supply 22.5 million doses. This decision is based on consideration of technical specification and price, and I am confident that the Intervet vaccine will offer the best value and most effective option to farmers."

Defra is urgently continuing work on developing a detailed plan with Bluetongue scientific experts, representatives of the farming industry and others as to how a vaccination programme would work. We will discuss this plan further with external scientific experts and stakeholders.

 

 

Notes to Editors

1. As at 12.30 on 12 December 2007 there were 66 confirmed premises affected by Bluetongue. The latest figures on the number of cases will be updated on a weekly basis (Friday) on the ‘latest situation’ page of the Defra website: www.defra.gov.uk/bluetongue

2. Further information on the latest Bluetongue situation is available at www.defra.gov.uk/bluetongue

3. Further information is available to farmers via the Defra helpline (0845 9 335577) and website: www.defra.gov.uk

4. Farmers without access to the internet can also call the Animal Health 24 hour recorded information line (0844 884 4600) for up-to-date news on the latest developments.

 

Press enquiries 020 7238 6092; Public enquiries 08459 335577;

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