Bluetongue vaccine ordered

Defra has ordered 22.5m doses of Bluetongue vaccine with the hope of tackling and controlling the disease by this summer.

The order, placed with pharmaceutical company Intervet, follows a full assessment of the three bids submitted during the tender process announced by Defra on 1 November.

Although no suitable vaccine is presently 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, in a bid 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.

Defra 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 said it was 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.

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