BHA Rule change - amendments to the Vaccinations Code

08 October 2021


Equine Influenza vaccination requirements

From 01 January 2022, the primary course and booster interval schedule for Equine Influenza vaccinations will be amended as follows:


Current Interval

Interval from 1 JANUARY 2022





21 – 92 days

21 – 60 days


150 – 215 days

120 – 180 days


Not more than 1 year apart

Not more than 6 months apart


The European Horserace Scientific Liaison Committee (EHSLC) Board approved the above changes to vaccination protocols in October 2019, following consideration of advice from experts in equine infectious disease.

As communicated by the BHA in November 2019, it was initially proposed that the harmonisation changes come into effect from January 2021, subject to consultation with participants in each racing jurisdiction, which was subsequently delayed by the BHA due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The harmonised EHSLC primary course and six-monthly booster intervals will be published in the Rules of Racing from 01 January 2022, with the BHA and Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) taking a coordinated approach to implementation (please see below details of implementation and transition from current intervals to new).

Please note that the new primary course and booster intervals were implemented in both France and Germany on 05 May 2021, so horses entered to race in these jurisdictions must be compliant with the new requirements.

Primary course intervals

  • Primary course intervals are only required for horses that have not yet been administered a primary course or are required to re-start a new primary course.
  • Horses that have a compliant primary course and compliant subsequent boosters up to and including 31 December 2021 do not have to re-start the vaccination process.
  • Any horse starting a new primary course up to and including 31 December should continue with the current intervals, even if V2 and V3 are administered in 2022.
  • Any horse starting a primary course from 01 January 2022 must comply with the new intervals.

Six-monthly boosters

  • Boosters should be administered no more than six months apart, according to calendar months rather than a fixed number of days. For example, a horse that is fully vaccinated on 01 January would require a booster on or before 01 July.
  • We ask that trainers seek to move to the new vaccination schedule as soon as practicable. However, to help trainers implement the changes with minimal disruption to training, horses should be fully compliant with the new requirements by 01 January 2023.
  • This means that before 01 January 2023, race entry will not be refused on the ground of having not yet commenced six-monthly boosters.
  • As of 01 January 2023, an Entry for a Race, or a Confirmation of Entry in respect of Early Closers, will not be accepted for any horse unless it has a correct vaccination record.
  • To be clear: all horses must have a compliant vaccination record by 01 January 2023 (i.e.) all horses must have been administered a booster within six months of 01 January 2023.
    • Horses which are due an annual booster between 01 January 2022 – 30 June 2022 will require a booster vaccination between 01 July 2022 – 31 December 2022 in order to be compliant by 01 January 2023.
    • Horses which are due an annual booster between 01 July 2022 – 31 December 2022 will be compliant by 01 January 2023.
    • NB horses which are vaccinated on 01 July 2022 will be due their next booster on or before 01 January 2023.
  • As under the existing Rules, there is no minimum interval for boosters.
  • Horses which do not have a compliant vaccination record as of 01 January 2023 will be required to re-start. Horses which have an interval of over six months between boosters will be required to re-start.

EHV Vaccinations

There is no requirement for the administration of EHV Vaccinations under the BHA Rules of Racing. This is reviewed on a regular basis by the BHA Veterinary Committee.


In the first instance, please email for all questions relating to vaccinations. For urgent questions, please call the Equine Health and Welfare Department on 020 7152 0090.



Health requirements – Equine Influenza (Paragraph 6)

A rewording of the existing Rule to clarify that a horse must be vaccinated in accordance with the Vaccinations Code.

The Rules already prevent any horse that is not correctly vaccinated from entering the racecourse stables, so this change is for consistency only.

Bisphosphonates – amendment to Rule (Paragraph 7)

The Rule for the administration of bisphosphonates will be updated in line with the EHSLC harmonised position, to be applied when bisphosphonates are detected in horses under the age of four.

Effective immediately, a horse must not have been administered with any bisphosphonate:

  • before it is aged four years (as of 01 January of the horse’s year of birth);
  • on raceday or any of the 30 clear days before.

The BHA Notice on Bisphosphonates has been updated as follows, to reflect the EHSLC harmonised position:

It should be noted that any horse to which therapeutic bisphosphonates are administered under the age of four years will not be qualified to run under the BHA Rules of Racing until:

      • For horses aged 4 years or over: receipt of a negative test;
      • For horses aged between 2 and 4 years: completion of a 12-month suspension from racing and receipt of a negative test; and
      • For horses aged under 2 years: completion of a minimum 12-month suspension from racing, reached 3 years of age and receipt of a negative test.

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