Vaccination principles, other policies updated

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The Executive Board approved revisions to AVMA policies concerning vaccination, pesticide application, and controlled substances as recommended by the Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents.

The updated policy, now titled "Vaccination principles," is largely unchanged but reflects new information that has emerged since 2001 in areas such as serology and vaccine licensing and labeling.

On the advice of the Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee, COBTA recommended amending the "Pesticide application" policy in anticipation of new Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

As the board was meeting in April, the EPA was in the process of proposing revisions to regulations governing occupational users of pesticides, and adding a new certification requirement that may include veterinarians and their staffs. The agency appears to be concerned with persons who repeatedly apply pesticides, such as flea-and-tick shampoos and dips, COBTA explained.

The EPA draft recommendation was expected in May 2007 and may clarify the agency's intent. In the meantime, COBTA thought a revision to the policy necessary. It now reads:

Veterinarians and regular employees under direct veterinarian supervision should retain current exemptions from certification in order to apply all pesticides, including restricted-use pesticides, in the course of practice.

AVMA staff will use the policy in comments to the EPA, urging that veterinarians and their staffs be exempted from future certification requirements because of the skills and knowledge of veterinarians and their supervision of veterinary clinic staff.

The policy now titled the "Controlled substances used for euthanasia" was also revised to account for disposing of euthanized animals. The policy now includes the following directive:

Ensure proper disposal of euthanized animals to avoid secondary toxicoses.

The board had referred the policy back to COBTA in November 2006 and encouraged the council to make the title more precise, address the disposal issue, and determine if any wording changes regarding supervision were needed.