Alternative orf vaccine now available

An alternative orf vaccine is now available for sheep farmers worried about the welfare implications surrounding the shortage of Scabivax Forte vaccine.

Merial Animal Health has been working with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) to allow the use of a French-licensed orf vaccine within the UK. A shipment today (17 May) will see vaccine for 70,000-80,000 sheep arrive in the country. This will be shipped out to vets later in the week.

Katherine England, product manager for Merial Animal Health, said the alternative vaccine had been imported to mitigate the circumstance surrounding the lack of the UK-licensed Scabivax Forte vaccine produce by Intervet/Schering Plough.

“We’ve had a lot of feedback from vets and farmers wanting to stop potential welfare problems surrounding orf. We have responded to market demand.”

The substitute vaccine has the same role as Scabivax Forte, providing protection against orf infection, but it is delivered subcutaneously or intradermally, rather than through a scratch vaccine.

“Farmers need to speak to their vets about the alternative vaccine, as vets will need to apply to the VMD for a Special Import Certificate,” she said.

This is normal practice when a UK-licensed product is no longer available and an alternative non-UK licensed product needs to be imported.

“Vets can apply for a total volume Special Import Certificate, but they will need to list all the farms the vaccine is going to,” Ms England explained.

Another batch of vaccine will be arriving next week in a shipment no smaller than today’s arrival. There is also the potential for a further delivery in June if the demand presents itself.

According to Ms England, the cost of the vaccine is comparable to Scabivax, but will vary between vet practices.

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