The Balearic Ministry for Agriculture will this morning embark upon its massive vaccination campaign against the Blue Tongue virus which has crippled the sheep farming industry in Majorca and Minorca over the past three weeks. Officials confirmed yesterday that the 400'000 vaccines from South Africa, which have been administered by the European Vaccine Bank, arrived in Palma on Saturday and have since been stored in special secure refrigerated warehouses. The 400'000 vaccines will cover the entire sheep herd in Majorca and Minorca which comprises of some 300'000 sheep. Throughout yesterday, experts from the Ministry for Agriculture, in co-operation with teams of vets, have been planning the island-wide vaccination operation. The authorities have also been making sure that everybody involved has the correct protective clothing and equipment. Initially the vaccination campaign will be carried out by municipalities and simultaneously in order to prevent any further spreading of the virus which has already claimed the lives of thousands of sheep. A total of 40 teams of vets will be carrying out the operation with the full support of local councils and the Environment Minister and members of the local police are standing by to help if more manpower is needed. A second wave of veterinary teams will continue their work out on the farms sacrificing the sheep already affected with the “exotic” virus. Sources at the Ministry for Agriculture said yesterday that the South African vaccine is a strong one and acts very quickly.

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