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Consultation on Defra's Contingency Plan for Exotic Notifiable Diseases of Animals March 2011

 For full consultation document, see
extract.  " vaccination" and FMD vaccination



10.1 Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Classical Swine Fever (CSF) are diseases where vaccination is identified in the disease control strategy. Therefore, the decision on whether to vaccinate or not will be considered at the earliest possible opportunity if either disease is confirmed.

10.2 When considering the role of vaccination, there will be many uncertainties about the behaviour and characteristics of the disease, its origin, the length of time it has been present in the country, its prevalence, the degree of geographical spread and the risk of undisclosed infection as a result of secondary spread.

10.3 In the face of such uncertainties, the decision on whether to vaccinate or not will need to take account of the following:

10.4 The decision taken may need to be reviewed if additional information becomes available such as, for example, spread of disease to previously unaffected areas.

10.5 Vaccination is disease specific and in accordance with EU requirements, emergency vaccination plans have been prepared for FMD and CSF detailing the procedures and vaccination strategies (e.g. vaccinate to live; suppressive vaccination (vaccination to kill)) that would be adopted if a decision to vaccinate was taken.

Preparations in England

10.6 As required under Foot and Mouth Disease Directive 2003/85/EC, Defra has appointed a vaccination contractor to implement any future vaccination programme for FMD within England. The contract, which runs until May 2012, also includes the potential to undertake the vaccination of FMD susceptible species against other exotic diseases for which vaccination is required, under the direction of AHVLA.

10.7 Under the terms of the contract, the contractor is required to be operationally ready to implement the vaccination programme within 5 days of being mobilised. To arrive at this state of readiness, they have 150 teams of trained lay vaccinators (450 staff) ready to provide assistance from the outset. Further to this, some 75 veterinary surgeons have been recruited to check for disease prior to vaccination and to direct the work of the lay teams in the field.

10.8 A detailed emergency vaccination plan for FMD can be found below.

Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) - Emergency Vaccination Plan


10.9 In accordance with the provisions of EU Foot and Mouth Disease Directive 2003/85/EC, to move emergency vaccination from a measure of last resort to the forefront of disease control strategies and thus enhance the capacity to respond to an outbreak, the following provides an overview of the operational capability to implement an emergency vaccination programme within England.

10.10 A vaccination contractor has been appointed to implement any future vaccination programme under the direction of AHVLA. As part of the management of the FMD vaccination operation a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) has been developed which sets out the roles and responsibilities of those involved in implementing an effective vaccination programme.

10.11 AHVLA has also agreed a Health and Safety Policy which incorporates the need for the contractor, their employees, sub and external contractors to comply with best practice and all relevant provisions, whether statutory or otherwise, relating to health and safety at work, including biosecurity protocols. Specific Health and Safety training must be provided for all staff.

10.12 In addition to the Health and Safety policy, an AHVLA team exists to deal specifically with Health and Safety related issues. This team will produce risk assessments for pre-vaccination visits by vets, for on-farm vaccinators and handling facilities, and maintain the necessary documentation for this.

Delivery arrangements


10.13 The contractor will provide 3 portable forward vaccination centres capable of being relocated to areas of the country where vaccination services are required. Contingency arrangements have been put in place to use markets, local airports and transport depots to house vaccination centres.


10.14 The contractor is required to supply, store, distribute and maintain the necessary equipment to support the vaccination programme. Stores Managers have been appointed to maintain these stores and contracts are in place to allow for the replenishment of stocks within 48 hours.

10.15 AHVLA will remain responsible for the maintenance of call-off contracts for ear tags, tag applicators and mobile handling facilities.

Vaccine Supplies

10.16 The UK has its own stocks of 8 different strains of FMD antigen, in total over 8 million doses, held on its behalf by a commercial supplier. In addition, the EU Vaccine Bank holds a wide range of antigens for emergency use. All antigens are administered according to their authorised marketing authority and the number of doses available and strains are kept under review. AHVLA has call-off contracts in place with the supplier for the delivery of vaccine to the vaccination centre including maintaining the cold chain throughout thereby ensuring vaccine is not adversely affected by temperature variations.

Lay Vaccination

10.17 To ensure that emergency vaccination can be implemented without delay in any future outbreak, Statutory Instruments have been created to allow non-veterinary personnel to handle and administer FMD vaccine. The Orders specifically permit vaccine to be supplied to and administered by lay vaccinators who meet specified eligibility criteria, thus reducing pressure on veterinary resources during an outbreak.


10.18 In the event of a confirmed outbreak of FMD, AHVLA will convey the scope and policy of the vaccination project to the contractor and confirm the approach to be taken (including the vaccine delivery arrangements). AHVLA will also keep the contactor informed of all suspect and confirmed cases as they occur and inform them of any changes which may affect field operations.

10.19 If the decision to vaccinate is taken, a Vaccination Zone will be set up, and a Vaccination Surveillance Zone, of at least 10 km in width, surrounding the Vaccination Zone will be designated. The contractor will be supplied by AHVLA with a complete list of holdings within the Vaccination Zone and identify those with animals that require vaccination.

10.20 The contractor will then contact farmers to arrange pre-vaccination visits by veterinary surgeons appointed by them for this purpose. The visits will check animal handling facilities and will also inspect animals for clinical signs of FMD.

10.21 Where clinical signs of FMD are identified, the teams will be withdrawn from the farms and the agreed biosecurity protocols must be followed. Vaccination teams would then enter a 72 hour quarantine period before being redeployed.

10.22 Where FMD is not found during the pre vaccination visit, vaccination teams will be deployed to carry out vaccination, record animal identification numbers, collect and return records. Vaccinated animals will be ear-tagged in a manner outlined in the FMD (Control of Vaccination) (England) Regulations 2006 and advised by Defra. 10.23 For identification purposes, vaccinated cattle will have their details recorded on the cattle passport and their current premises noted on the AHVLA Disease Control System (DCS).

Decision Tree for the Use of Emergency Vaccination During an Outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)   (see pdf file page 69)

Figure 6: Decision Tree