APHIS: Avian flu vaccination not in immediate plans
Official says vaccination would only be used if deemed necessary to help in containing spread of avian influenza
The recent discovery of H7N8 avian influenza in ten Indiana turkey flocks has not posed a great enough threat to the U.S. poultry industry for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to consider avian influenza vaccination.
On January 15, a highly pathogenic strain of H7N8 avian influenza was confirmed in a commercial turkey operation in Indiana. APHIS further confirmed the presence of H7N8 in nine other turkey flocks, with eight of those being affected by a low pathogenic avian influenza strain, while test results are inconclusive at this point concerning the other flock.
“Our vaccination policy is to only use it if we feel that it would be an important adjunct to our stamping out policy. At this point in time we are not looking to do any sort of vaccination,” Dr. T.J. Myers, associate deputy administrator of APHIS, told USDA Radio News. “That’s something that we would only use if we felt it was necessary to assist us in containing a spreading virus, which we are not looking at right now.”
While APHIS in 2015 awarded contracts to Harrisvaccines and Ceva to mass produce avian influenza vaccines for the National Veterinary Stockpile, the agency has yet to approve an avian influenza vaccination program.