Bluetongue vaccine Bovilis BTV8 has received Veterinary Medicines Directorate approval, with 2m doses likely to be available by May.

As expected, the vaccine is prescription-only, available from vets, most of whom are devising customer ordering systems, said supplier Intervet. The vaccine is a 1ml single dose for sheep, while cattle need two subcutaneous injections, each of 1ml, three weeks apart.

In the first month demand is likely to outstrip supply. “This is a new product, which we are producing in bulk for the first time. Vaccine production is a biological process and yields vary between batches, so it is not always possible to predict exactly when it will be available to the market,” said Intervet.

DEFRA, which has ordered 20m doses for England and 2.5m for Wales, has pegged on-farm cost at 55p-66p a dose for 50-dose bottles and 82p-98p a dose for 20-dose bottles. Costs may be higher if supervision is needed with vaccination, Intervet noted.

Treated animals should have protective immunity three weeks after the initial course, Intervet said. “As part of the licensing process we have provided the VMD with studies demonstrating the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety.”

  • The French government’s website shows Intervet is scheduled to supply 4m doses of BTV8 to the French livestock industry in April and 10m in May. This week Merial said it had delivered 1.3m doses of the BTV8 vaccine, as part of its 1.8m dose target for May.

For more information, go to BLUETONGUE VACCINE FACTS