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from The National Foot and Mouth Group

FMD AND VACCINATION - Facts and information

  • Two decisions have been taken by the EU to allow vaccination to assist in controlling the current UK epidemic (EC Decisions 2001/257/EC and 326/EC).

Decision 257 (dated 30.03.01) related to Cumbria and Devon. Decision 326 (dated 24.04.01) related to Cumbria, Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset.

They both provided for the use of 'protective vaccination' for bovine animals. Other susceptible animals, ie, sheep, pigs and goats, within the vaccination zone were to be slaughtered. (EU Decisions for protective vaccination could be sought for all species in the areas stated or for other parts of the UK.)

  • The vaccinated animals were not to be slaughtered but meat, meat products and milk from these animals does require some processing before it can enter the food chain. These are specified in Annex V and VI of EU Decision 257.
  • The Food Standards Agency is satisfied that the use of FMD vaccination would not have any implications for food safety. No food products derived from vaccinated animals would require specific labelling. FSA Statement 27.04.01
  • The National Consumer Council share the view of the FSA and support its stance. NCC Statement of 20.04.01
  • The vaccine that would be used is a dead virus, so it is not active and therefore cannot spread the disease. (Source FSA - 27.04.01)
  • The vaccine has been through rigorous safety assessment by independent experts (the Veterinary Products Committee) before being given a licence. Millions of doses of FMD vaccine have been given world-wide with no adverse effects on human health. FMD vaccines are widely used throughout parts of Africa, South America and Central America. (Source FSA 27.04.01)
  • Many tonnes of FMD vaccinated meat, meat and milk products are annually imported into the UK and EU. They require no labelling. (Source DEFRA)
  • In order to implement a vaccination program a vaccination zone would need to be set up and administered. This would not necessarily stop exports resuming from areas in the UK which are disease free. Exports could resume from vaccination zones 12 months after the end of the vaccination programme or maybe sooner.
  • Under EU legislation there is a ban on all animal movement within and from the vaccination zone until 30 days has elapsed since the completion of the vaccination campaign. This needs to be compared with current movement restrictions which have been imposed for many months.
  • All animals that are vaccinated must be individually identified.
  • The international body which regulates which countries are FMD free or have FMD free zones is the OIE (Office International des Epizooties) based in Paris. It is their document the 'International Animal Health Code, 10th edition 2001' which provides the guidance regarding vaccination and Disease Free Status.

Further info: Contact NFMG: Tel: 01285 644319 or 01285 656812

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