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Bluetongue Stakeholder Meeting

13:15 – 14:45 Tuesday 6th May 2008

Room 613 Nobel House

Attendees

John Kittmer

David Mouat

Phil Reed

Ian Hill

James Dancy

Linda Reay

Panchali Guha

Alice Russell-Hare CAAV

Richard Beale SL

Chris Dodds LAA

Nick Clayton GVS

Duff Burrell NBA

Tim Isaac CLA

Paul Hooper ASAO

Chris Stockdale BAAGB

Susie Child LACORS

Kevin Pearce NFU

Andrew Taylor BLGC

Steve Biddle RHA

Stephen Ridgeway Milk Link

Libby Henson NSC

Sheila Crispin RCVS

Richard Clarke RBST

Nick Blayney BVA

Peter Morris NSA

Olivia Walter BIAZA

1. Welcome & Introduction

1.1 John Kittmer (JK) thanked stakeholders for attending. He explained

that the aim of this meeting is to provide stakeholders with an update on the

roll out of Bluetongue vaccine; discuss feedback on initial stages of

vaccination and discuss the new licensing / movement requirements. He

apologised for the technical problems with the telephone conferencing

equipment.

1.2 He reminded stakeholders that vaccination is a devolved issue and

asked if Stakeholders could refer specific queries to the relevant Devolved

Administration. JK stated that there are currently over 3 million doses of

vaccine available for use in the PZ and that Intervet have delivered more

vaccine earlier than expected. He praised the company’s performance to

date.

2. Disease Update

2.1 David Mouat (DM) explained that there are 127 infected premises (66

cases in 2007 and 62 cases in 2008). He commented that the majority of

cases this year found by pre-movement testing – and all indicated they were

infected last year before VFP and no evidence of virus circulating in UK yet

this year.

2.2 DM informed stakeholders that the first case of trans-placental

transmission in a calf has been found on an IP. He stated that an investigation

was ongoing to assess ramifications of findings (e.g. are calves viraemic, what

is exact mechanism of infection). As yet no evidence of trans-placental spread

has been found in sheep. These findings would feed into the EU wide

investigation assess situation and any potential mitigation measures. It was

agreed to keep stakeholders appraised of any conclusions.

2.3 JK reminded stakeholders that they should remain vigilant and not to

become complacent if no evidence of disease is found in the next few weeks.

While it would be incautious to extrapolate from evidence on the continent,

clinical signs in the second season of infection only became evident there in

mid-June 2007.

3. Vaccination

Delivery Schedule

3.1 Phil Reed (PR) explained that over three million doses of vaccine have

now been released to wholesalers; 2m in 50 dose bottles, over 1m in 20 dose

bottles. He stated this is significantly ahead of the 2m we were originally

expecting Intervet to provide in May. He explained that further deliveries are

expected over the summer, and as vaccine is delivered we will be expanding

the Protection Zone (PZ) to allow vaccination in a wider area. PR stated that

Defra are actively considering with the industry how best to secure future

supplies and will keep the situation under review in the coming weeks.

Rollout of vaccine

3.2 Nick Blayney (NB) updated stakeholders on the vaccine roll out

strategy. He explained that aim of the strategy is to make vaccine available to

all livestock keepers as quickly as possible. He reminded the meeting that the

strategy was developed and agreed with the Core Group of industry

stakeholders. It is designed to be flexible, taking into account take-up of

vaccine in the PZ, arrival of new batches of vaccine into the UK, and new

incidents of the disease

3.3 NB explained that the PZ will be extended on a county by county basis,

as and when further vaccine becomes available. The decision of which

counties receive higher priority for vaccine is regularly reviewed taking into

account vaccine take-up and availability, latest epidemiological assessment

and economic impacts.

3.4 NB stated that it is hoped that by week commencing Monday 12th May

there will be over 4m doses of vaccine available. Anecdotal feedback shows

initial uptake of vaccine to be high but Defra were waiting for the official

feedback from the veterinary wholesalers.

3.5 NB reminded stakeholders that veterinary surgeons were only able to

administer / prescribe vaccine to livestock under their care in the PZ and it is

illegal for farmers to give / sell any spare vaccine to their neighbours.

Stakeholder Feedback / reaction so far

3.6 Stakeholders gave their initial feedback and reaction to the roll out of

vaccine in the PZ. The main points raised were:

· Stakeholders stated that there had been anecdotal evidence of

wholesalers outside the PZ ordering vaccine. Phil Reed confirmed that

he was regular contact with wholesalers and that they are aware of the

restrictions on the distribution of vaccine outside the PZ. [was this a

stakeholder question or a Defra response to some point?]

· JK confirmed that the amount of notice given before planned zone

moves may vary, it's a balance between the certainty we'll have on

delivery from the manufacturers and not delaying vaccine delivery once

available, but the roll-out plan gives the best indication of priority order.

· Stakeholders asked if it would be possible to get advance notice of

zone changes and indicated that there could be issues if livestock are

trapped at shows as a result of zone changes. JK stated that were

possible we will give advance notice of changes, but this will depend

on the specific situation facing us. JK confirmed that Defra will make

show info available to the Core group when recommendations are

being considered and we will consider case by case the possibility of

licensing where hardship arises from PZ changes during shows.

· Chris Dodds praised Defra for the work on the vaccine roll out so far

and reminded stakeholders that although markets and shows were

suffering as a result of movement restrictions, the rapid rollout of

vaccine must take priority. Without an effective vaccine strategy they

may be no animals for shows or markets in 2009.

· The expansion of the PZ is based on the disease profile, availability of

vaccine, uptake and demand. The first roll-out of the PZ was planned

for a date within the next ten days or so, depending on the timing of the

third batch of vaccine.

· Stakeholders should consult the interactive map to see the extent of

the PZ.

· The Secretary of State, together with the Core Group, was considering

future vaccine supply over the summer, given the potential shortfall in

England – if take-up was high. An announcement would be made

within the next few days. Update: This announcement has now been

made, and stakeholders are referred to the Defra website for

information.

· There are currently three companies producing Bluetongue subtype 8

vaccine and others are developing it. It is expected that the market will

determine the future supply of vaccine, as is generally the case for

prescription medicines.

· The EU Bluetongue Directive prohibits the use of vaccine in the SZ, as

only live vaccine was available when this regulation was agreed. The

Commission had not yet indicated any intention to allow vaccination

outside a PZ, although it was thinking about the issues. Defra and the

Core Group were both confident that the roll-out strategy enabled the

risks of expanding the PZ to be properly mitigated, as vaccine would be

released into each expansion of the PZ..

· Data from the 2007 June census and from the cattle tracing system

were used as the basis for calculating the likely demand for vaccine in

England.

4. Licensing / Movement rules

4.1 James Dancy (JD) updated stakeholders on the movement restrictions

for vaccinated animals. He explained that:

· Vaccination itself is licensed using two general licences:

o Licence to vaccinate

o Licence to obtain vaccine.

· The movement of vaccinated animals under the vaccination conditions

is also licensed – the conditions broadly summarised are:

o Wait 60 days after "primary course" - i.e. 2 in cattle, 1 in sheep,

whatever is prescribed in other ruminants.

o Or wait until length of time specified for immunity to develop in spec

and get PCR 14 days later (spec is just for cattle and sheep so

other ruminants can't use this – research is being undertaken to

resolve this issue).

o Then there are 2 other conditions relating to "re-vaccination" (i.e.

2nd year), and VFP, neither of which are applicable yet.

· There is a 3 tier system for certification of vaccination for farmers who

wish to move their animals:

o If no intention to move animals, no action.

o To move to English FA or Welsh RZ, need self certification and

lower level vet certification (i.e. return bottles).

o To move for intra-community, or to Wales FA, Scotland or NI, they

must have full vet certification.

· Vaccinated animals can still move under other licences if they meet the

conditions - e.g. to slaughter etc.

· Other movement conditions remain same (e.g. slaughter timings etc),

but we did implement the 8km provision where markets/abattoirs can

be designated as part of SZ if they're within 8km.

4.2 there was a short discussion regarding the licensing and movement

rules. The main points raised were:

· It was agreed to highlight on the website that farmers need to consider

that the correct level of veterinary certification is required at the time of

vaccine administration.

· As not all livestock (zoo animals, camelids etc) are tagged it was

agreed to consider removing the requirement for veterinary certification

of each individual ear tag.

· Claire Whitehead (RCVS) is carrying out research into the efficacy of

vaccine in camelids. Currently the working hypothesis is that camelids

will require 2 doses of vaccine.

· Only sheep and cattle are permitted to use the 35 day and PCR

condition at present. Goats and camelids etc. will only be able to use

the 60 day condition until we get some firm data with regard to periods

of immunity etc.

· Due to risk of disease transmission via trans-placental spread the EU

have introduced new legislation which makes the movement of

pregnant livestock from the PZ to the Free Area practically impossible

– except in certain prescribed situations. Guidance on this will be

published on the Defra website in due course.

· Animals from the English PZ, providing they have the appropriate

export certification, can move freely to the confluent continental PZ and

vice versa. Stakeholders who export animals from the PZ to the EU

were reminded to be careful that they don’t inadvertently send livestock

to a Surveillance Zone. Full details of the EU restricted zones can be

found on the EU website at:

http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/diseases/controlmeasures/bluetongue_ en.htm

· Camelids are subject to the movement conditions in the Bluetongue

Regulation 2008.

· Stakeholders queried why a general licence applying to camelids had

been removed from the Defra website. Update- The general movement

licence, which applied to camelids, was associated with the FMD Order

and is no longer required, nor relevant to Bluetongue.

5. Communications

5.1 Kevin Pearce (KP) updated stakeholders on the work of the Joint

Action against Bluetongue (JAB). He explained that JAB has been launched

in a bid to achieve mass vaccination of all bluetongue susceptible animals in

the UK. He explained that the NFU was undertaking the administration for

JAB and the initiative was supported by more than 20 organizations from

across the whole of the livestock sector. The initiative is supported by Defra

and Animal Health

5.2 KB stated the JAB campaign is using national and regional media, as

well as more direct contact through farmers meetings, livestock markets and

private veterinary surgeries. Regional offices are distributing thousands of

bluetongue awareness postcards (40,000) and posters to help get the

vaccination programme underway as soon as possible. He encouraged

stakeholders to disseminate the “vaccinate don’t hesitate” message to their

members and asked those present to contact him if there were interested in

being involved.

5.3 Ian Hill (IH) gave a summary of the Defra and Animal Health

communications activity which has surrounded the rollout of vaccine. He

explained that:

· There has been significant national and regional coverage of the

release of vaccine including TV (BBC News 24, Sky News) and radio

(farming today).

· Defra have issued press releases which have also been sent to all vet

practices in England & local authorities.

· A DVM letter, which enclosed the JAB postcard, was been sent to all

IPs advising them to vaccinate their flocks/herds. Each IP was given a

unique identifying code, in order to ensure their vaccine order is

processed as a priority.

· All other premises with susceptible livestock in the PZ sent a letter and

voicemail.

· There will be ongoing Bluetongue communications activity at the

Summer Agricultural shows and via the livestock market road shows.

6. Any Other Business

6.1 The next meeting Bluetongue Stakeholder meeting will take place in

late June early July when we can take stock of how the roll out of vaccine has

been progressing.

 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

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