Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the largest manufacturers of influenza vaccines for horses, is currently having problems with childbirth. The resulting vaccine shortage prompted the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) to change veterinary regulations.
This change will enter into force on 1 October 2022 and will initially be limited to 1 April 2023. The de-consideration decision on 8 September relates to Article 1003 of the FEI Veterinary Regulations. This still states that equine influenza virus booster vaccinations must be given in the six months (+21 days) prior to the international tournament.
This period has now been extended from six to twelve months by the decision of September 8. From October 1, 2022 to April 1, 2023, all horses that have received their last influenza vaccination within twelve months prior to the event are eligible to compete in the FEI Championships. According to the FEI press release, this is made possible by a combination of this measure, increased health monitoring and a “higher level of general biosecurity”. All other requirements of Section 1003 remain in effect.
Health monitoring during exemption should be improved by extending Article 1029.7 of the FEI Veterinary Regulations. Until now, this was for screening for equine herpes virus type 1 in horses with a fever, but it is now being expanded to include influenza screening. Specifically, the article states that horses with clinical symptoms of EHV-1 Or now equine influenza is not allowed to participate in an FEI event. Horses already infected with any of the viruses, or those who have been in contact with horses that have been confirmed to be infected, may not participate in an FEI event again until they have complied with the health requirements set by the FEI Department of Veterinary Medicine.
The most common symptoms of equine influenza are severe symptoms and dehydration Coughhigh fever, discharge from the nose and swollen lymph nodes.
Ensure that vaccinations are available for horses that are particularly at risk
The FEI press release states:
“The FEI Epidemiology Group, in its investigation of the potential impact of vaccine shortages, has found that even a short interruption in the vaccine supply can have a significant impact on different types of sporting, breeding and recreational horses,” said FEI Veterinary Director Juran. Akerstrom.
However, the horses most susceptible to disease, including life-threatening cases, are horses aged 0-4 years who do not yet have a strong immune system to fight equine influenza. In particular, the horse breeding and horse racing sectors with young horses may face serious problems in the care of horses if vaccinations are not available to them. Old and retired horses may also be at high risk.
For this reason, the FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group recommends that middle-aged horses, such as B-FEI horses at least six years old and vaccinated regularly, are considered better protected due to the long vaccination history. The group agreed that temporarily extending booster periods would not put populations of FEI horses at risk for disease while making vaccines available to high-risk groups of horses in the short term. The equine community must now work together to alleviate a very difficult shortage of a vaccine.
Extension is only a temporary solution and is only possible because FEI horses are well protected after being vaccinated every six to 12 months, often for many years. We’ll go back to the six-month booster period once vaccine availability returns to normal because we need to continue building that collective immunity over the long term.
The FEI Department of Veterinary Medicine will continue to monitor the situation and will keep the public informed.”
Meanwhile, Boehringer Ingelheim is taking several measures to best address delays in the delivery of ProtqeFlu® (EI, equine influenza) and ProteqFlu® (influenza and tetanus) vaccines.
FEI provides more information and frequently asked questions Here it is ready.