Manufacturer Ceva Animal Health has warned sheep farmers that the EAE (Enzootic Abortion of Ewes) vaccine, Cevac Chlamydia, will be unavailable during July and August.

The supply issues, which will affect the main vaccination period for EAE, follows “a vaccine batch failure in the manufacturing process”, according to the company.

South East Farmer correspondent and sheep farmer Alan West said the lack of vaccine could cause a major headache for breeders who buy in replacement ewes and would normally vaccinate to avoid the risk of bringing in EAE, and said it “strengthens the argument for maintaining a closed flock and a high level of bio security”.

Alan added that there had been several issues affecting the supply of a number of vaccines manufactured on the continent since Brexit, pointing out that UK farmers were “last on the list when there are any issues within the supply chain”. There had been “significant issues” with Clostridial vaccines a year or so ago, he commented.

A statement from Ceva said the company “understands the significance of vaccinations in maintaining the health and welfare of livestock” and “deeply regrets any inconvenience caused to its valued sheep farmers during this period.” It added that it was “working tirelessly to resolve this challenge”.

Roy Geary, regional director for Northern Europe (including the UK) at Ceva Animal Health, explained: “The manufacturing of vaccines is a complex process that involves stringent quality control measures and adherence to regulatory guidelines. 

“Unfortunately, the anticipated vaccine batch has failed to meet the quality expected to be suitable for release, which has temporarily affected the ability to meet the demands of the UK sheep market within the main seasonal vaccination period for EAE. As a responsible provider, we are actively addressing these issues to minimise the impact on customers.”

He added: “Our dedicated team is working closely with our partners to resolve the challenges and restore normal supply levels as soon as possible.  The vaccine challenge is being treated with the utmost urgency, and we are actively exploring alternative options to speed up the supply chain for future batches of the vaccine.

“We anticipate that the issue in supply will be resolved, with some stock potentially available later in the season, however we recognise that for some farmers the supply will arrive too late for them to use.  We encourage all farmers to consult their vet and explore alternative means of safeguarding the health of their flocks.” He also recommended “implementing robust biosecurity measures and adhering to existing vaccination protocols for other preventable diseases”.

On a related issue, Alan West said he was also concerned that “while the latest control framework for Bluetongue BTV-3 talks about access to a safe and reliable BTV-3 vaccine, UK farmers are unlikely to be able to access it until 2025”.

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