British vets grapple with pet vaccine shortage – News

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Photo of Dr Wendy Smith Wilson

The ritual of regular vaccinations for pets, especially cats, is being disrupted in the UK as manufacturers report shortages of a number of vaccines. As a result, some products are rationed and practitioners prioritize younger animals while advising older animals with a strong vaccination history to wait a bit longer than usual for their booster shots.

UK vets must ration vaccines that protect cats and dogs against a range of deadly diseases amid a nationwide shortage that is expected to last for months.

Some vaccine makers attribute shortage to increased demand caused by pandemic companion animal boom and the elimination of a backlog of appointments following an easing of bottlenecks.

The pet vaccine shortage also comes as the UK’s recent exit from the European Union deepens supply chain bottlenecks that disrupt the transport of everything from gasoline To chicken meat.

In addition, the materials used to make and package vaccines, such as plastic chambers and glass vials, are in high demand as governments rush to immunize their human populations against COVID-19.

Three of the world’s largest animal health care companies – Zoetis, Boehringer Ingelheim and MSD Animal Health – have separately confirmed to the VIN press service that they know or expect to experience a shortage of certain snapshots in the UK.

None said the problem was happening elsewhere, although one said an “unprecedented demand” for pet vaccines was also seen on the European continent, without naming the countries.

The affected products include vaccines that protect pets against a range of pathogens, such as feline and canine parvoviruses and feline leukemia virus.

The manufacturers have each said the shortage is much more pronounced for cat vaccines. But one said he had also placed order caps on some high-demand dog vaccines, as a precautionary measure to avoid panic buying.

Zoetis, the world’s largest animal health care company by sales, “currently anticipates a shortage of supply” of its line of Versifel cat vaccines in the United Kingdom, according to its senior director of international communications, Anne-France Quentric.

In an email response to questions from VIN News, she attributed the shortage to “delays in the manufacturing process” and “current challenges in the UK market”, without being more specific.

Versifel vaccines protect cats against pathogens such as feline parvovirus, feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus type 1, and feline leukemia virus.

At least one vaccine supplier has shown on his website in recent days, the Versifel CVR solution has not been available, “probably due to a manufacturing delay”.

Quentric of Zoetis said, “Our global manufacturing and supply organization is exploring solutions to limit supply disruptions for our customers to care for their animals, and we strive to minimize the impact on them as much as possible. customers to ensure a reliable supply of our core vaccines. “

MSD Animal Health has placed some vaccines on “allocation,” which means orders have been capped based on the size of previous customer orders, according to its UK communications and external relations manager Vicky Bewer.

MSD Animal Health, which is owned by pharmaceutical giant Merck, has issued a statement to veterinarians confirming that rationing applies to certain products in its Nobivac range – for dogs and cats.

“In Europe and the UK we continue to see unprecedented demand for cat vaccines,” the letter from MSD says, adding that demand for dog vaccines is also increasing, prompting it to ration them as well. “At this point, we expect more stock will be available in January 2022.”

A third major manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim, has also put some vaccines on hold, spokeswoman Nora Aji said, without revealing which specific products are affected. The German company manufactures the Purevax line of cat vaccines, according to its UK website.

(Elanco Animal Health, the world’s second-largest animal health care company behind Zoetis, does not manufacture or distribute vaccines in the UK)

Many vets are prioritizing the vaccination of potentially more vulnerable animals, such as kittens in need of their initial training, according to a statement from Britain’s National Office of Animal Health, a lobby group for healthcare companies. animal health.

“Vaccine production is a precise and regulated process with numerous controls to ensure the safety, quality and efficacy of each batch,” NOAH said. “Vaccine manufacturers continue to operate at full capacity to increase supply in the market.”

The Wylie Veterinary Center in Upminster, England, is one of the clinics that prioritize pets – in its case, puppies, kittens and animals that need first year reminders. “At the moment, we are delaying the booster vaccinations by three months from their due date,” practice says on his Facebook page.

Dr John Blackwell, a veterinarian based in Shropshire, England, said other cats at higher risk of infection, such as those entering a cattery from multi-cat homes, could also be priority.

“It can be argued that cats who have received year-over-year boosters, do not have other disease problems or are not at higher risk should be able to demonstrate good immunity. to allow their recall interval to be extended to about 15 months, from the normal 12 months, ”he said.“ This will hopefully allow the profession to deal with short-term supply issues. . “

Meanwhile, UK vets are wondering to what extent various demand and supply pressures are contributing to the vaccine shortage – and how long that could last.

“At the moment it looks like only cat vaccines are affected, and they say they will be sorted by the new year,” said Dr Cat Henstridge, deputy veterinarian in Sheffield, who recently spoke to a representative of Zoetis. “But I wonder if we are slowly being brought into a crisis.”

VIN News Service commentaries are opinion pieces presenting ideas, personal experiences and / or perspectives on topical issues by members of the veterinary community. To submit a comment for review, send an email to [email protected]


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