Progress being made on vaccination control strategy for FMD

UK - DEFRA announces progress on developing emergency vaccination as an additional control strategy for foot and mouth disease and opens consultation on a revision of the contingency plan.
calendar icon 1 December 2003
clock icon 4 minute read
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Animal Health Minister, Ben Bradshaw, wrote to the Royal Society last week, detailing the progress made on their recommendation that emergency vaccination should be developed so it could be available for use as a prime control strategy in addition to culling of infected animals and dangerous contacts in a future outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease.

The potential deployment of emergency vaccination would be assessed from the early stages of any future outbreak.

Mr Bradshaw said:

"Good progress has been made on a variety of important issues concerning the use of emergency vaccination. I particularly welcome the new EU Directive on Foot and Mouth Disease control, which meets the recommendations of the various inquiries and takes into account the changes in the OIE code since 2001."

Progress includes:
  • Negotiation of a new EU Directive on Foot and Mouth Disease control, moving vaccination to the forefront of disease control strategy.

  • Engaging with stakeholders to gain the necessary support from the farming and food industries to make emergency vaccination a workable option in the event of a future outbreak.

  • Procurement of independent supplies of Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine for the UK, which is suitable for use in a "vaccinate-to-live" strategy in the event of a future outbreak.

  • Ongoing work on the development of vaccination scenarios including a Cost Benefit Analysis to help decision making on future disease control strategy.

  • Continuing to fund research into tests that would demonstrate the absence of infection in animals post-vaccination.

  • Putting in place operational arrangements with an external contractor that would enable an emergency vaccination programme to be implemented 5 days after confirmation of the disease, subject to veterinary and epidemiological advice.
The latest version of the Government's Foot and Mouth Disease Contingency Plan was put out to consultation today prior to laying it before Parliament in Spring 2004. This revision reflects changes and developments over the last year and builds on input from key operational partners. Defra is planning a series of exercises over the next seven months to check and validate the Foot and Mouth Disease Contingency Plan. The programme will culminate in a live exercise on 29 and 30 June 2004.


  1. The Royal Society Report "Infectious Diseases in Livestock" can be found in the Royal Society's website at One of its recommendations was that emergency vaccination should be developed as a prime disease control strategy for use in the event of a future outbreak of the disease.

  2. The Government response to the Foot and Mouth Disease inquiries can be found at

  3. The new EU Foot and Mouth Disease Directive can be found at or on the Europa website. Council Directive 2003/85 maintains the basic disease control policy of killing infected susceptible animals and dangerous contacts but it also gives more emphasis to the use of emergency vaccination. Transposition of the Directive into domestic legislation is required by 30 June 2004.

  4. Details of the consultation on the revised version of the Foot and Mouth Disease Contingency Plan can be found at The consultation period for responses closes on Friday 20 February 2004. Responses should be sent to Susan Ivory ()

  5. Defra has already carried out a total of over 50 Foot and Mouth Disease exercises and training events, mainly at regional level since the last outbreak.
Source: Defra - 1st December 2003
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