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EU allows preventative bluetongue vaccination

By Melodie Michel , 22-Mar-2012

The European Commission has allowed preventative vaccination in bluetongue-free areas, hoping to prevent outbreaks and limit the economic impact of the virus on farms.

Effective today (22 March), the new rules allow member states to use inactivated vaccines, considered safer than ‘live vaccines’, to avoid bluetongue outbreaks. 

“The amendment of Council Directive 2000/75/EC follows the Commission’s strategy of ‘prevention is better than cure’ and allows more flexibility for member states to develop national vaccination strategies for the prevention and control of bluetongue,” the Commission said.

The number of outbreaks of bluetongue has steadily decreased in the past few years, dropping from 45,000 in 2008 to 39 in 2011, mainly because of vaccination campaigns using inactivated vaccines, which have been co-financed by the EU (€150m in 2008, €120m in 2009, €100m in 2010 and €16m in 2011).

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