Vaccination has the potential to make an important contribution to controlling TB in cattle in the future as part of a package of measures. As with most vaccines, a vaccine against TB will not guarantee that all animals vaccinated are fully protected, and some vaccinated animals may still contract the disease, but vaccination can reduce the risk of infection and transmission.
Defra has invested in a significant research programme to develop vaccines for cattle and badgers. However, developing and implementing use of vaccines is not a simple task and there are a number of scientific challenges, as well as key policy, legal, commercial, regulatory and manufacturing issues that need to be addressed.
Vaccination of cattle against bovine TB, used in conjunction with existing TB control measures, could have benefits in reducing the prevalence, incidence and spread of TB in the cattle population and could also reduce the severity of a herd breakdown regardless of whether infection is introduced by wildlife or cattle.
Badger vaccination could help reduce the prevalence and severity of bovine TB in a badger population and thereby reduce the rate of transmission to cattle.