Badger vaccines suspended in Cornwall

Badger Image copyright PA
Image caption The BCG vaccine formula is also used in human jabs to protect against TB

A scheme to vaccinate badgers against Bovine TB has been suspended indefinitely because of a global shortage of the BCG vaccine.

In an email seen by the BBC, the Institute of Zoology (IOZ) said it was unlikely badger vaccines would be available until at least May 2017.

The IOZ said funding had subsequently been cut for the West Cornwall Badger Vaccination Initiative.

It had hoped to vaccinate up to 1,000 badgers in the "next few years".

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"Advice from Public Health England is vaccination should only be made available to humans and that animal use of BCG should be restricted during this period of vaccine shortage to conserve global supplies", a spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

Last year the government suspended the sourcing of the vaccine for badgers in order to prioritise the formula for human jabs which protect against TB, following guidance from the World Health Organisation.

The Institute of Zoology said it had hoped to use expired but still effective stock from last year for the initiative, but claimed their request was declined by the Home Office.

The £2m scheme, which started as a pilot in 2013, was seen as a possible long-term alternative to culling, as part of efforts to tackle TB in cattle.

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