Q. What happened to the planned vaccination programme?

A. An injectable Badger BCG vaccine was licensed by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate in March 2010, research is continuing regarding a possible oral vaccine. 

In a government funded project nearly 1,200 badgers have so far been vaccinated in one area of Gloucestershire. The original plan was for badger vaccination to be undertaken in six large areas, but one of the early actions of the coalition government was to cut this down to one area. We believe this change of policy is very short-sighted. If these projects had gone ahead as planned, we would by now have been much further along the road of finding such a solution. Instead, two years on and nothing more has been done. 

Vaccinating badgers reduces the severity of the disease in those that become infected after vaccination. A reduction in the prevalence and severity of disease in the badger population should reduce the potential for transmission of TB from badgers to cattle. 

A license for a cattle vaccine, based on the human BCG vaccine, is also being considered by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. Currently EU law would prevent the widespread use of a TB vaccine in cattle. We think the government should be focussing on creating the legal framework in which a cattle vaccine could be widely deployed.