The bluetongue Protection Zone is set to extend again after additional vaccine doses were made available.

From Monday 26 May all of Devon will be included in the PZ allowing livestock producers to begin vaccinating from that date.

To help livestock producers to plan ahead and order vaccine in readiness to begin vaccinating DEFRA has also confirmed the PZ will be further extended in the week beginning 2 June – in line with the expected delivery of vaccine.

The aim is to include Cornwall, the East Riding of Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, the district of Selby, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire.

BLUETONGUE VACCINE

The Welsh Assembly government will also declare the current Restricted Zone in Wales a Protection Zone from 2 June when the current restricted zone in the south east of the country becomes a protection zone.

EU regulations mean that when this happens farmers in the area will be able to start giving sheep a single dose of vaccine and cattle two shots three weeks apart.

Elin Jones, the Welsh assembly’s rural affairs minister, said that the start date was subject to the delivery of vaccine and there being no unforeseen developments in the spread of the disease.

BLUETONGUE VACCINE 01 a

She reminded farmers that vaccination could only take place in a protection zone, which could only be designated if the area bordered onto another Protection Zone, or bluetongue is found to be circulating in the area.

“The Welsh Assembly Government has been working with DEFRA in ensuring that the protection zone reaches Wales as early as possible to enable vaccination to start,” Ms Jones said.

Livestock farmers in the protection zone would be able to gain access, through their vets, to the first batch of one million doses of the vaccine ordered for Wales. More doses would become available at intervals over the summer.

“Over the past weeks both the Assembly Government and industry representatives have urged livestock keepers to contact their vets and register their interest in the vaccine. If farmers have not already done so I would encourage them to do it now.

PZ restrictions will apply to those keepers coming into the extended zone. Animals can only be moved out of zone if they are vaccinated, naturally immune or moving for slaughter, subject to meeting certain conditions.