EU, US ordering human avian influenza vaccines

Vaccines are for use in poultry farm workers and veterinarians as needed.

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The European Union (E.U.) has entered into a contract for the supply of 665,000 doses of zoonotic influenza vaccine Seqirus, designed to protect adults against influenza caused by the H5 influenza strains, with the first shipments going to Finland to vaccinate workers at risk of exposure. Shipments to other countries will follow.

E.U. Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides commented: “While the threat of avian influenza to the general population remains low, we need to protect people at higher risk, such as poultry and farm workers or certain veterinarians.

“Today we announce an agreement on behalf of participating countries to secure access to over 40 million doses of avian influenza vaccine. We are ready to take further action should the situation evolve in the future.”

The E.U.’s Health Emergency and Response Authority has entered the agreement, on behalf of 15 E.U. and European Economic Area (E.E.A.) Member States, with CSL Seqirus UK Ltd. for the supply of up 665,000 pre-pandemic vaccine doses, and an option for a further 40 million doses. The agreement allows each country to take into account its public health context, ordering vaccines according to need, and will run for up to four years.

The vaccine is intended for use in those most exposed to the possible transfer of avian influenza from birds or animals, for example farm workers or veterinarians, and is well matched to the H5 of the H5N1 virus strain.

U.S. stockpile program

The E.U. announcement comes on the heels of similar procurement in the U.S. In late May, it was announced that the National Pre-Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Stockpile program had selected SCL Seqirus to complete the fill-finish process of pre-pandemic vaccine.

Under the terms of the agreement, the company will deliver approximately 4.8 million vaccine doses. This was the fourth CSL Seqirus had received from the country’s Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in response to the sustained highly pathogenic avian influenza activity.

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