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.
The first injectable badger vaccine, BadgerBCG, was licensed in March 2010 and is available for use on prescription. Badgers need to be trapped by trained operators under licence by Natural England and the vaccine must be administered by a veterinarian or accredited lay vaccinator.
An oral badger vaccine, which may be a more practical option in terms of field deployment, is at the research stage and is still several years away. It may also be a cheaper alternative, although this is not currently clear without a final product, so cannot be guaranteed. There are significant technical challenges to overcome in developing and licensing an oral badger vaccine, particularly as an oral vaccine is technically difficult to formulate.
Badger Vaccine Deployment Project
Defra are funding a Badger Vaccine Deployment Project (BVDP) in an area in Gloucestershire, near Stroud. This project is the first practical use of an injectable vaccine for TB in badgers outside research trials, aimed at assessing the logistical issues of the use of such a vaccine. Badger vaccination using the injectableBCG vaccine began in July 2010 and will continue for 5 years. Fera is vaccinating the badgers and training others to do so in the project area.
Details of training courses in badger trapping and vaccination run by Fera are available on the Fera website.
Badger vaccination fund
We are operating a competitive vaccination grant scheme from 2012 – 2014 to support the cost of start-up vaccination of badgers in and around areas for which badger control licences have been awarded.
The scheme is subject to State Aid provisions: Summary information on State Aid granted in conformity with Commission Regulation (EC) 1857/2006:
In addition, in 2012/13 and 2013/14, we are making available grant funding to support staff and volunteers from voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations wishing to train as lay badger vaccinators. Funding is also available for VCS staff and volunteers to contribute to the cost of the annual certificate of competence. In both cases this amounts to 50% of the cost of training and the certificate of competence.