Hope for return of custom footrot vaccine

By Victoria Nugent
Updated January 5 2022 - 8:44pm, first published 7:30pm
A minor use permit could restore access to the custom footrot vaccine.

The custom footrot vaccine pulled off the market in late 2020 could make its return if a minor use permit is granted by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

The Australian Wool Innovation-funded vaccine, had been granted an emergency use permit to allow it to be sold without going through the full registration process but the return of the Cooper's Animal Health Ovilis Footvax vaccine voided the emergency use permit.



The cost of full product registration is estimated to be within the range of $3 to $4 million, with the process taking from two to four years.

The APVMA confirmed that it is currently assessing a minor use permit for Custom Footrot R-Pilus Vaccine, but did not provide a timeline for how long the assessment would take.

The permit scheme allows for the limited use of an unregistered product.

WoolProducers Australia, who have been lobbying for the reinstatement of the custom vaccine, have been working with the APVMA to get the minor use permit in place.


WoolProducers general manager Adam Dawes said the plan was to issue minor use permit to either state government-based veterinarians or private veterinarians for prescription to specific producers.

"Having it limited to specific veterinarians that are overseeing or advising on an eradication program does fit under what we and the APVMA think comes under a minor use permit," he said.

"We're in the process at the moment of engaging with state-based chief veterinary officers in all sheep producing states to gauge their interest in having a meeting or an exchange with APVMA, probably in February... to determine whether we have state government support to apply for those minor use permits in their respective jurisdictions."

WoolProducers have also been consulting with Andrew Whale from the Australian Veterinarian Association and Tasmania-based sheep veterinarian Bruce Jackson to work out the way forward.

Mr Dawes said they hoped to give growers access to the custom footrot vaccine again in time for the 2022 spring and summer period.

"Given the significant R & D investment, to have an effective product come out the other end and then get access blocked because of red tape was frustrating but we've had a pleasing level of engagement from APVMA in the last six months or so," he said.

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Victoria Nugent

National sheep and wool writer

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