NFU Scotland has welcomed the announcement that the Scottish Government has placed its order for Bluetongue vaccine and that the nation’s strategy for dealing with this devastating livestock disease continues to move forward.
The order for twelve million doses of vaccine – enough for all of Scotland’s cattle and sheep - has been placed with the pharmaceutical company Merial. Deliveries are expected to start in August. Depending on disease developments in England, Scotland may choose to start its compulsory vaccination campaign in the winter. This is the time of year when lower temperatures ensure that the Bluetongue virus and the midges responsible for transmitting it to livestock are both inactive.
NFU Scotland Vice-president Nigel Miller said:
"The announcement that the Scottish Government has placed its order for vaccine now will give comfort to Scotland’s livestock farmers. It also allows for a flexible approach to disease control in Scotland.
“Vaccination is moving ahead at pace in England and Wales and Scottish livestock farmers are hugely reliant on that voluntary programme receiving the full backing of producers in those parts of GB that currently have access to vaccine stocks. Vaccination is the key tool in preventing the disease from getting a foothold in the UK in the next few months.
“Should the disease cross the Scottish border this summer then we now have the tools in place to react. If the disease’s progress is stalled by the vaccination campaign elsewhere in the country then Scottish vaccine stocks will be in place to allow a protective campaign this winter.”
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