Lack of cross protection between foot and mouth disease (FMD) virus (FMDV) serotypes as well as incomplete protection between some subtypes of FMDV affect the application of vaccine in the field. Further, the emergence of new variant FMD viruses periodically makes the existing vaccine inefficient. Consequently, periodical vaccine strain selection either by in vivo methods or in vitro methods become an essential requirement to enable utilisation of appropriate and efficient vaccines. Areas covered: Here we describe the cross reactivity of the existing vaccines with the global pool of circulating viruses and the putative selected vaccine strains for targeting protection against the two major circulating serotype O and A FMD viruses for East Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia. Expert Commentary: Although in vivo cross protection studies are more appropriate methods for vaccine matching and selection than in vitro neutralisation test or ELISA, in the face of an outbreak both in vivo and in vitro methods of vaccine matching are not easy, and time consuming. The FMDV capsid contains all the immunogenic epitopes, and therefore vaccine strain prediction models using both capsid sequence and serology data will likely replace existing tools in the future.