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Bluetongue Disease: Vaccination

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the supply of doses of bluetongue vaccine available to protect agricultural livestock in Copeland constituency in the event of an outbreak of the disease. (249464)

Under a voluntary vaccination programme in 2008, DEFRA underwrote the purchase of 28 million doses of vaccine, sufficient to vaccinate all susceptible livestock in England. This was made available according to priority areas as vaccine consignments became available. Sufficient doses were made available to livestock keepers in the Copeland constituency on 1 September 2008.

Because uptake in the North of England was lower than hoped, there is a surplus of 12 million doses of vaccine, which is being made available for use in 2009, subject to expiry dates.

DEFRA does not intend to underwrite further supplies of vaccine in 2009 but livestock keepers can purchase from their vets any of the three authorised BTV8 vaccines produced by Intervet, Merial or Fort Dodge. This flexibility provides farmers with a choice as to the best purchase options for their stock.

Further detail on vaccination in 2009 is available in the Delivery Plan For Vaccination Against Bluetongue Serotype 8 In England (2009), published on the DEFRA website.