The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), British Equestrian (BEF) and the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) are collaborating to monitor the potential impact of a shortage of doses of vaccines for equine influenza.
The three bodies have been aware of minor interruptions to the supply of such vaccines throughout 2022. However, a significant, pan-European logistical problem being experienced by Boehringer Ingelheim has raised the prospect of a further reduction in supplies in the coming months.
BEVA is liaising with the three vaccine manufacturers to quantify the impact of the shortage and to consider solutions, not only to minimise the threat to equine health and welfare but also to prevent disruption to equestrian competition.
Marc Laemmer, equine business head at Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, said: “We are currently experiencing a European-wide supply issue relating to our equine influenza and influenza-tetanus vaccines. This has been caused by unexpected issues following the implementation of a technology upgrade and is not a product or quality issue. This means that some vet practices will have difficulty obtaining sufficient influenza vaccines and there may be a shortage in the UK market. We understand the importance of these vaccines to equine welfare, and we are continuing to work tirelessly to find a solution so that we can return to normal supply as soon as possible.”
Amanda Melvin, equine business manager at MSD Animal Health, said: “Based on prior demand, MSD’s equine vaccines Equilis® Prequenza and Equilis® Prequenza Te are in full supply. MSD have taken steps to protect as many horses as possible at this time. We will continue to supply existing customers with the available MSD stock on ‘allocation’ and, where possible, to allocate stock to additional customers. Allocations are being made to our veterinary customers based on their historical demand which we believe is the most efficient way to manage the available supplies.”
Rebecca Cabrejas, equine business unit manager at Zoetis, said: “Demand for our vaccines currently exceeds what we can supply. Whilst we have adequate stocks to fulfil current customers’ orders unfortunately, we are not in a position to be able to supply new customers at this time. We will continue to work with BEVA to limit the impact of the current shortages.”
David Rendle, Chair of BEVA’s Health and Medicines Committee, said: “BEVA, BHA and the BEF will continue to work together with other industry and equestrian sporting bodies to manage the situation should the availability of influenza vaccines be compromised further.
“We remind all horse owners of the importance of maintaining vaccination for equine influenza but would advise they wait until as close a time as possible until their horse’s next dose is due to minimise current demand.”
James Given, Director of Equine Health and Welfare for the BHA, said: “The BHA will continue to monitor the situation as more information becomes available. Further updates will be issued to racing’s stakeholders and participants in due course.”
Jim Eyre, CEO of British Equestrian said: “A meeting of our Equine Infectious Disease Advisory Group has been held and we will work with member bodies to monitor the situation carefully. If it becomes necessary, we will collectively work to devise practical solutions for dealing with any supply difficulties.”