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Bluetongue Disease: Disease Control

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what contingency arrangements are in place for higher than expected demand for bluetongue vaccinations. (196211)

[holding answer 25 March 2008]: At this stage it is difficult to forecast the extent to which Bluetongue will have spread geographically by the time vaccine is delivered, or what demand for vaccine will be. However, following some estimates of likely take-up of vaccine from industry and expert recommendations on where we could expect the disease to be present this year, we have ordered 20 million doses for use in England (and a further 2.5 million doses are reserved for use in Wales). The UK was the first member state affected by the current outbreak to place an order for vaccine. We are considering with industry how best to secure future supplies.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for how many serotypes of bluetongue a vaccine is available; and for how many serotypes vaccine research is being conducted. (196216)

[holding answer 25 March 2008]: Live attenuated vaccines have been developed for most Bluetongue serotypes. However, we would not normally consider using live vaccines as a disease control measure as there are significant potential risks associated with them.

We are aware of inactivated vaccines which have been developed for Bluetongue serotypes 1 and 4. An inactivated vaccine is currently being developed and produced for serotype 8, the serotype currently in circulation in parts of England, and the UK has placed an order with Intervet for 22.5 million doses.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the (a) wholesale and (b) final on-farm price of bluetongue vaccine in (i) 50 ml and (ii) 20 ml bottles. (196435)

[holding answer 25 March 2008]: The vaccine we have ordered from Intervet will be available in 50 ml and 20 ml bottles, and livestock keepers will be able to purchase vaccine through their private vets via veterinary wholesalers. The wholesale “list” price is likely to be £22.02 for the 50 ml bottles and £13.10 for the 20 ml bottles. However, it is expected that the final on-farm price is likely to be between £27.50 and £33.00 for the 50 ml bottles (i.e. around 55 to 66 pence per ml) and between £16.35 and £19.65 for the 20 ml bottles (i.e. around 82 to 98 pence per ml) plus VAT. This will allow the wholesalers and veterinary organisations to cover the overhead, handling and administration charges throughout the distribution process. The on-farm price will be dependent on arrangements between keepers, their private vets and veterinary wholesalers.