Equine Influenza Vaccination

FEI Statement, received on 29 October 2007

All horses wishing to compete at an FEI competition must provide proof of an Equine Influenza vaccination recorded primary course, at least an annual booster schedule thereafter and the last booster given within a period of 6 months (+ 3 weeks) but not within 7 days prior to event arrival.

If a horse has failed to maintain the annual booster schedule they must start everything off again. If a horse has gone over the FEI 6 month booster period but has had the horse vaccinated as above they are fine.

Ian Williams
Director - Driving, Endurance and Para Equestrian Department
Fédération Equestre Internationale
Lausanne, Switzerland

For horses that are competing internationally (defined as horses that are registered for that calendar year with the FEI), 6 monthly vaccinations are required. Should your horse withdraw from international competition, a letter of explanation is required from your vet if the vaccination is not administered. Annual vaccinations should be continued and the frequency increased to 6 monthly when international events are resumed.

Extract from FEI Veterinary Department Quarterly News (No. 01-2007):

Guidelines for Equine Influenza

To our surprise, the issue of influenza vaccinations continues to create some problems during passport controls at events. While the objective was to have the rules as user-friendly as possible, we still see the need to carry out a further revamping of our relevant website text, which is being done as we speak. However, once more the bottom line:

A recorded primary course, at least an annual booster schedule thereafter and the last booster given within a period of 6 months (+ 3 weeks) but not within 7 days prior to event arrival.

As far as the first booster (to be given within 6 months after the second vaccination of the primary course), we advise to check for it, not to sanction if that first booster is not there but to write down that the horse needs an extra vaccination (21-92 days after the next 6- month booster), which will make the next 2 vaccinations effectively a new primary. The following booster at 6 months will then bring the horse back in line.

Fédération Equestre Internationale Veterinary Department
Lausanne, Switzerland
t. +41 21 310 47 47

Further explanation of the vaccination rules can be found in the document below:

10th edition (2006) Annex VII
CLICK HERE to download this document (PDF file)

Changes to Vaccination Rules in 2006

The BHDTA Council have agreed, at the request of many members, to change the Equine Influenza vaccination rules back to a single 12 monthly vaccination for Club and National events from 1st January 2006.

The 6 monthly requirement remains in place for all international events, as this is an FEI rule.

BHDTA 2005 Rule book change:

Article 912, section  1.3:

Delete “in accordance with the prevailing international rules” and insert “for equine influenza, including booster injections at 12 monthly intervals”.

Vaccination rules for International events

The FEI requirement for influenza vaccination is for booster vaccinations at six monthly intervals from 1 January 2005.

The Primary course of vaccination requires two doses of vaccine between one and three months apart (30-90 days). The first booster vaccination must be given no more than six months after the second vaccination of the primary course. Thereafter, booster vaccinations must be given at six month intervals.

However, to avoid interruption of the horses’ competition schedule, it is permissible to vary the six monthly booster date by 21 days. This provides a six week window around the six month date to vaccinate the horses. For example, a horse vaccinated on 18 March has a window for the next vaccination from 28 August to 9 October.

Reproduced below is the the text of the FEI press release.

Equine Influenza is a viral respiratory disease which is highly contagious to susceptible horses. Outbreaks of the disease are occurring with increased frequency worldwide despite the widespread use of vaccines. The highly contagious nature of equine influenza means that it has the potential to seriously compromise international movement of horses. For a number of years the FEI rules have required an annual booster vaccination, but recent research indicates that, for many vaccine protection declines after a few months. This means that towards the end of the vaccination year horses may become susceptible to infection again, but may not show clinical signs of disease. These cases are particularly dangerous as they can spread virus and could initiate a serious outbreak of disease.

As a consequence of the risks involved the FEI Bureau and General Assembly have approved a rule-change requiring all horses competing in FEI competition to be vaccinated every 6 months. This rule will be reviewed annually by the FEI Veterinary Committee and can be altered if the Vaccination or disease situation changes

Rule change approved by the General Assembly 2004

“The FEI requirement for equine influenza vaccination will be for booster vaccinations at 6 month intervals as from 1 January 2005.”

Implementation of the Rule change

1 Primary course of vaccination – a primary course should always be given according to the manufacturer’s instructions by injection or intranasal administration. This requires 2 doses of vaccine administered between a minimum of 21 to a maximum of 92 days apart (1 – 3 month). The first booster vaccination must be given no more than 6 months + 21 days (see item 5) after the second vaccination interval is obviously permitted.

2 Route of administration – the vaccine should be administered according to the manufacturers instructions (i.e. intramuscular injection or intranasal). The FEI will accept intranasal vaccines for both primary and booster doses. However, it is not possible to change the route of administration between the first and second vaccination of the primary course.

3 Specification of Vaccine – All proprietary equine influenza vaccines are acceptable to the FEI irrespective of the route of administration. Univalent vaccines are to be preferred over combination vaccines, especially with regard to vaccination against tetanus.

4 Details of Administration – vaccines must be administered by a veterinarian and the details of the vaccine, serial/batch number, the date and route of administration must be reported in the FEI passport.

5 Booster vaccinations must be given at 6 month intervals. However, to avoid interruption of the horses’ competition schedule, it is permissible to extend the 6 month booster date to vaccinate the horse. (For example, a horse vaccinated on 18 March, has a window for the next vaccination from 18 Sept to 9 Oct). A shorter vaccination interval is obviously permitted.

6 The entering of vaccination details in the new FEI passports/recognition cards or duplicates – if the vaccination history of the horse is very long, the veterinarian who has filled in the descriptive page of the passport/recognition card may use a specific statement to certify that the vaccinations have been administered in accordance with the FEI regulations (for the exact wording see veterinary regulations, Annex ll.l.11). Please note that until 31 December 2004, annual booster vaccinations are permitted and from 1 January 2005, bi-annual boosters are required.

7 Change in the vaccination schedule – When the vaccination schedule is changed from annual to bi – annual, the horse does not need a new primary vaccination.


8 The Bureau has approved the following table for warnings and sanctions of passport irregularities:

8.1 Warnings will be issued by the FEI from 1 January 2005 until 31 December 2005 as a reminder that 6 month booster vaccination for influenza is now mandatory.

8.2 As from 1 January 2006 a system of fines will be imposed by the Appeal Committee/Ground Jury for failure to comply with 6 month booster vaccinations.

8.2.1 Less than one week after the 3 weeks vaccination window: CHF 200

8.2.2 Less than two weeks after the 3 weeks vaccination window: CHF 300

8.2.3 Less than four weeks after the 3 weeks vaccination window: CHF 400

8.2.4 More than four weeks after the 3 weeks vaccination window: CHF 500 and the cancellation of the horse’s participation in the event.

8.3 Fines for other infringements relating to influenza vaccination will be as follows:

a) if no evidence of any current vaccination in passport: a maximum penalty of CHF 500

The horse should not be allowed to compete, it must be put in isolation and sent away from the event as soon as possible.

b) any infringements of vaccination dates should be noted in the passport so that it is not reported again at a future event. Please write in CAPITAL letters; remember that others will be dependent on the information that you have written in the passport.

c) no information available on the primary vaccination course need not lead to a penalty, and a repeat primary course is not required, provided the current passport contains a statement that the vaccination history has been checked and found to be correct. (for exact wording see Veterinary Regulations, Annex ll.l.11).

For further information please contact:
Dr. Frits Sluyter
Federation Equestre Internationale
Av.Mon-Repos 24
1005 Lausanne
Tel. 0041 21 310 4747
Fax. 0041 21 310 4760