Saturday 2 October 2021

UK: surge in puppy and kitten adoptions causes delay in booster vaccinations

News media reports that in the UK there is a national shortage of animal vaccines. Cats and dogs are being turned away from the usual inoculations. Some animals are being prioritised while others are having their appointments put back.

Cat Vaccination. Photo: The Answer Vet
Cat Vaccination. Photo: The Answer Vet

In one instance there has been a delay of several months before they can inoculate. Vets are prioritising kittens and puppies, companion animals most at risk of falling ill. It is the booster jabs which are being put off.

It appears that the shortages are affecting all companies providing vaccinations across the UK. And it affects both cat and dog vaccines.

ASSOCIATED: What vaccinations does my cat need in the UK?

An issue which has been raised is that some insurance policies specify that it is only valid if vaccinations have been administered. What happens if an animal falls ill because the booster was delayed by several months? Can the owner still make a claim under the policy? Petplan say that policies will not be invalidated and they want to reassure their customers. 

The problem of a short supply of vaccinations has been compounded by the rapid increase in the numbers of cat and dog owners in the UK, by 3.2 million during the pandemic.

ASSOCIATED: Unbelievable: UK households buy 3.2 million animals in lockdown

And the problem has been further compounded by a shortage of veterinarians in the UK due apparently to Brexit. Many European veterinarians left the UK following Brexit. Comment: certainly, I noticed what I believed was a large number of young continental European veterinarians in the UK at one time. It seems that large veterinary groups (which is the modern business model) hired newly qualified continental veterinarians which they could pay less.

Britain has for a long time relied upon relatively cheap labour from abroad to cover up poor productivity and efficiency. The time has come to change that and the flaws are being exposed by Brexit.

It is not clear if this is a reduction in supply of vaccines or an increase in demand for vaccines because of the increase in the number of cats and dogs. It looks like the latter: a failure of vaccine manufacturers to produce more to keep pace with the surge in new puppies and kittens. That's my interpretation of the report.

Source: i News.

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