No support for general vaccination

Member States confirm their strong commitment to the current EU policy to eradicate foot-and-mouth disease

Member States confirmed their strong commitment to the current EU policy to eradicate foot-and-mouth disease at last Friday's (23 March) special meeting of the Standing Veterinary Committee (SVC). It includes the killing and destruction of infected and susceptible animals as well as the strict control of the movement of animals. The meeting was called in response to Dutch requests to use vaccinations after the discovery of foot-and-mouth at farms in the east of the country.

However, Member States did discuss the possibly for "suppressive vaccination". This would allow for the vaccination of limited numbers of animals in a restricted area around an outbreak of FMD if the total volume of animals threatens to overwhelm a country's destruction capacity.

Animals waiting to be culled and destroyed could be vaccinated to avoid the further spread of the virus. This scheme would only be used if the targeted animals are not slaughtered and destroyed with 6 to 10 days, the period after which the vaccination becomes affective.

The Standing Veterinary Committee gave a favourable opinion to a proposal by the European Commission for the Netherlands, under strict conditions, to vaccinate against FMD. The Netherlands will only be allowed to vaccinate identified livestock in a defined area in conjunction with the immediate destruction of the animals. In addition, the Netherlands will only allow vaccination when there is shortage of culling capacities.

Nevertheless, the Netherlands told the committee that they will not use this provision for the 3 current outbreaks and that they will cull and destroy all eventual vaccinated livestock with two months.

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