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Scotland's Bluetongue vaccine to be dispensed
in 100ml bottles.
There is an alarming risk of waste

James Irvine

Teviot Scientific, Cultybraggan Farm, Comrie, Perthshire

Filed 02 Jul 08

It has been revealed that Scotland's 12million dose order for Bluetongue serotype 8 (BTV8) vaccine from Merial is to be only available in 100ml bottles. it may not be until next year before smaller 20ml bottles of the vaccine will be available.

The Merial vaccine is stated to cost around £70 per 100ml bottle, which is understood to be more expensive than the Intervet vaccine currently being supplied to England & Wales. Intervet supply their vaccine in 20 and 50ml bottles.

It is understood that the Scottish authorities are discussing the options of smaller bottles with Merial. However, this may not be possible until next year because of the manner in which Merial have set their licences up with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

This is surely an alarming state of affairs.

Cattle require two 1ml doses. The average herd size is 55. Is the farmer going to purchase one 100ml bottle for the first 50, purchase another 100ml for the next 5 beasts, and then throw the remaining 90mls away? Once opened the vaccine needs to be used promptly. What is more, it has been prescribed by his vet for his cattle only.

Scottish farmers are having to wait far too long for the vaccine as it is. Delivery dates are as yet uncertain because of the massive demand for BTV8 vaccine across Europe. It is incredible that the potential for waste and unnecessary expense should be so high.

Scotland only ordered its 12 million doses on 27th June: last week (1). Two million doses are said to be promised should BTV8 strike Scotland before the Vector Free Period in December. But it looks as though much of that 2million doses may be wasted on account of the large bottle size.

The purchase of Scotland's vaccine is a cost sharing business, with the Scottish Government contributing up to £3million of the cost. The rest, whatever the cost, is to be paid for by the industry. But Scottish stakeholders were allowed no part in the tendering process.

The consequences of bluetongue disease reaching Scotland would be dire. Surely the situation demands an efficient procurement process that while give Scottish farmers the best chance of protecting their stock in a sensible manner and at a competitive price. Furthermore, a scarce and invaluable resource - the only one available to fight the disease - should not be wasted.



1. Irvine, James (2008). Scotland at last orders 12 million doses of BTV8 vaccine
See HOMEPAGE, filed 28Jun 08, www.land-care.org.uk Click Here to View