The BVA has reacted with disappointment, but overall understanding, to the Welsh Government’s decision to suspend it’s bTB vaccination programme on badgers due to a global shortage of the BCG vaccine.
The badger vaccine is the same formula as the vaccine used in humans and the World Health Organization has called on all countries to review their BCG usage to ensure countries with the highest human TB rates receive priority and target individuals who will benefit most from BCG vaccination.
Given the fact one badger vaccine equates to 10 human adult doses or 20 human infant doses, deputy minister for farming and food Rebecca Evans has decided to suspend vaccination until the global supply for humans is adequate.
Neil Paton, president of the BVA Welsh branch, said: “This is disappointing news and will be a significant blow to the bTB eradication programme in Wales. However, it is clear the one health and human health agenda should take priority in this case.
“We urge the Welsh Government to reconsider its eradication programme as a matter of urgency, particularly in relation to wildlife control.
“We welcome the move to commission modelling work to evaluate the impact of suspension and we are keen to work with the Government to identify an evidence-based solution to this problem so any potential progress made in Wales is not lost.”
BVA president Sean Wensley added: “This development further emphasises the need for the agricultural sector to have as many tools in the toolbox as possible to fight bTB.
“It is right that public health takes priority, but it is regrettable the supply chain is so vulnerable and we would want to see more security in the future.
“We also expect the global shortage will affect the bTB eradication programmes in England and Northern Ireland, both of which include an element of badger vaccination. We will continue to engage with all UK Governments to push for comprehensive and evidence-based eradication strategies.”