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Home Tests & Tools for Worm Control The Barbervax® Vaccine Program

The Barbervax® Vaccine Program

Problem: Drench resistance has reduced drench options on your property and/or barber’s pole worm is a significant problem year-round and you are in need of a new approach to barber’s pole worm control.

Solution: Barbervax® is a vaccine against barber’s pole worm, which gives the Australian sheep industry a new weapon to fight an old foe.

Benefit: This vaccine provides a major alternative to drench-based control and will help manage worms in the face of drench resistance. Barbervax® will be of particular benefit in barber’s pole-endemic regions where frequent drenching may be necessary to prevent sheep deaths.

The vaccine is given to sheep and lambs as a series of subcutaneous injections of 1 mL, at no more than 6-week intervals to cover the barber’s pole worm-risk season (e.g. in the NSW Northern Tablelands, this is generally December to April).

  • It is important to understand that the first two vaccinations are not able to provide protection, but they prime the lamb’s immune system so that protection occurs following the third vaccination, and lasts for up to 6 weeks.

Further vaccinations need to be given each 6 weeks while there is a barber’s pole worm risk or more frequently in those years and situations where animals are exposed to very heavy challenge from barber’s pole worm.

Once sheep have received a course of vaccine as lambs, a single booster injection in a subsequent season will typically provide 6 weeks protection without the need for a second priming dose.

Why must the Barbervax vaccine be used so frequently?

Immunity to barber’s pole worm is not sustained, whether it is acquired by exposure to natural worm infections or from the Barbervax vaccine. Barbervax immunity works in a different way from naturally acquired immunity and because it is not boosted by natural exposure, lasts for only 6 weeks after the sheep has been primed by a series of 3 vaccinations.

Other vaccines given to sheep also vary in their lengths of protection. The Gudair® vaccine for Ovine Johne’s Disease gives lifelong protection from a single vaccination, whereas a 5-in-1 vaccination needs 2 initial injections 4–6 weeks apart and annual boosters. Pulpy Kidney vaccinations generally only provide about 3 months protection.

The Barbervax Vaccination Schedule

warning

NOTE: This schedule should be followed accurately; do not extend the time periods between vaccinations.
Barbervax is not a knockdown product; some drenches will still be required while immunity is establishing and also for scour worms, which Barbervax does not affect. Only the recommended pre-lambing and weaning drenches are shown in the schedule, however, other drenches may also be required.

Monitor as per your regional WormBoss worm control program and Drench Decision Guides.

Lambs or hoggets not previously vaccinated

This schedule best suits lambs born in September or October. For lambs born at a different time it is best to seek advice from your sheep advisor, your re-seller or email info@barbervax.com.au.

Key: V=vaccination, the number (1–6) refers to first, second (and so on) vaccination in the series given in one barber’s pole worm season.

The Barbervax vaccine being administered to a lamb during field trials

NOTE:
1V3 should be given with an effective drench to control scour worms as well as any early barber’s pole worm and the lambs should be moved to a prepared low worm-risk paddock, ideally where sheep have not grazed for 3 months.
2Vaccinations V4 and beyond may need to be given more frequently in those years and situations where animals are exposed to very heavy challenge from barber’s pole worm.

Hoggets vaccinated as lambs the previous year

NOTE: 3Vaccinations beyond V1 may need to be given more frequently in those years and situations where animals are exposed to very heavy challenge from barber’s pole worm.

Breeding ewes not previously vaccinated (assumes a spring lambing)

4V3 should be given with an effective pre-lambing drench to control scour worms as well as any early barber’s pole worm and the ewes should be moved to a prepared low worm-risk lambing paddock that has been prepared over the previous 6 months.
5Vaccinations V4 and beyond may need to be given more frequently in those years and situations where animals are exposed to very heavy challenge from barber’s pole worm.

Breeding ewes vaccinated the previous year

NOTE
4V1 should be given with an effective pre-lambing drench to control scour worms as well as any early barber’s pole worm and the ewes should be moved to a low worm-risk lambing paddock that has been prepared over the previous 6 months.

  • Vaccinations beyond V1 may need to be given more frequently in those years and situations where animals are exposed to very heavy challenge from barber’s pole worm.

You should also follow the recommendations in your regional WormBoss worm control program and Drench Decision Guide. It is strongly recommended that the worm egg counts of the lambs, hoggets and ewes are monitored. Ideally, a mob WormTest should be done 4–5 weeks after each effective (i.e. not the priming doses) vaccination from the third vaccination onwards, so that the result is known before the next vaccine muster. The WEC results will inform whether a drench is required and a culture will give further information about the worm types present.

It is important to remember that Barbervax® does not replace the need for drench programs to control scour worms.

Grazing management to prepare low worm-risk paddocks to avoid significant barber’s pole intake will further enhance the effectiveness of vaccination, and breeding for worm resistant sheep provides complementary longer-term worm control. Sheep in poor body condition or showing signs of worms may not respond fully to vaccination, and may require additional support.

Barbervax® can be purchased from a number of suppliers, for an up to date list refer to the Barbervax website. The price is between 75c and 88c per dose depending on pack size and supplier (as of November 2018).

More technical details about Barbervax®

  • Each 1 mL dose contains 5 ug native antigen + 1 mg saponin adjuvant.
  • It is administered as a 1 mL injection under the skin irrespective of bodyweight.
  • It may be given at the same time as Clostridial vaccines (e.g. 5-in-1 or 6-in-1), though at a different site.
  • It is sold in 250 mL and 100 mL packs, the contents of which should be used within 12 hours of opening. Any vaccine remaining should be discarded.
  • Its current unopened shelf life is 33 months and it should be kept refrigerated (2–8°C), but not frozen.
  • Five or six doses are generally required during the summer barber’s pole worm risk period. Sheep being vaccinated for their second season need fewer doses than those not vaccinated the year before.
  • The vaccine is effective against all barber’s pole worms, including drench resistant strains
  • It is sustainable—vaccine resistance is unlikely to develop.
  • It has no withholding period or Export Slaughter Interval. Non-toxic.
  • For the Australian Certified organic standards it is classed as “restricted’ meaning that it may be used on organic properties if justified in the Organic Management plan, without leading to decertification of the animal.
  • It slows the development of anthelmintic resistance in all worm species, as fewer drenches are used, so all worms are exposed to fewer drenches.
  • The vaccine is not effective against scour worms.
  • The Barbervax vaccine was developed by the Moredun Research Institute in Scotland and has been registered for use in Australia since 2014 after extensive field trials in northern New South Wales, funded by Meat and Livestock Australia.
  • The Barbervax vaccine is manufactured at the Albany Laboratory of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia.
  • Barbervax is also registered for use in sheep in South Africa and it may be used in the UK under veterinary prescription. Registration for New Zealand and Europe are currently (2018) being pursued. It is not registered in North or South America.

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