England will not be alone in opting for a voluntary bluetongue vaccination strategy this year, with the Dutch government also choosing a voluntary scheme.
But, unlike the English plan, the Dutch strategy will qualify for EU funding as the vaccine will have to be administered by vets.
The Dutch strategy states that vaccination will be undertaken by vets under the supervision of the country’s Food and Consumer Protection Safety Authority. Additionally, it says vaccine will be supplied free of charge and farmers will be compensated for the costs of administering the vaccine by pre-fixed amounts.
However, having seen high levels of bluetongue infection last year, the Dutch authorities believe they do not need to vaccinate large numbers of animals to reach the critical 80% coverage of immunity. To achieve 80% coverage in cattle, 1.6m animals need to be vaccinated this year.