Bluetongue vaccine could begin arriving at wholesalers next week in readiness for distribution to veterinary surgeons and their clients, Farmers Weekly has learned.

The release could be in the nick of time. Vets in Belgium and the Netherlands have reported that large numbers of the bluetongue carrying midge, cullicoides, have become active in the past few days. Farmers have been warned to watch for symptoms and urged to vaccinate stock.

In the UK the earliest date predicted for DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn to approve the vaccine release, by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, is Friday (25 April).

“Once the vaccine arrives at the wholesaler, veterinary surgeons can begin receiving vaccine for their clients,” a livestock industry official told FW.

“It would work best if the vet then calls the farmer client. Otherwise there could be chaos if 20 or 30 farmers start ringing vets to see if the vaccine has arrived.”

“The official added that the price of the vaccine had been set (see table). Under no circumstances should farmers pay more than the agreed prices.”

Vaccine Amount Cost/ml Wholesale price/bottle:

  • 50ml 55-66p £22.02
  • 20ml 82-98p £13.10

See our videos on how to vaccinate against bluetongue