The control of exotic animal disease forms part of Defra’s work to implement the Animal Health and Welfare Strategy for the UK. It strives to make a lasting and continuous improvement in the health and welfare of kept animals whilst protecting society, the economy, public health and the environment from the effects of animal diseases.
In delivering protection from exotic animal diseases on each of these counts, vaccination may be considered an effective disease control tool as part of wider disease control strategies. This can help move towards the overall goal of eradicating the disease where it is practical to do so, and the full benefits outweigh the wider costs. In the short term vaccination can help slow, reduce and potentially prevent disease spread. At the same time however, vaccination can carry with it significant costs for industry and government, while having wider implications for other factors such as the effective monitoring of disease spread, trade and movements. Vaccination as a disease control measure therefore requires careful