High-path avian flu vaccine has obstacles to overcome

The chair of the National Turkey Federation says several obstacles stand in the way of utilizing a high-path avian influenza vaccine.

John Zimmerman, a turkey grower from Northfield, Minnesota, tells Brownfield the primary hurdle is trade.

“This is a foreign animal disease, and any time we vaccinate it effects our trade relationships with some of our trading partners. We have agreements in place that if we begin to vaccinate, they may ban importation of our turkey products, and also other poultry products too.”

He says proper trade agreements need to be in place to make sure exports are not impacted.

“Number two, this vaccine would be more than likely an injectable vaccine, and logistically that’s pretty difficult to inject hundreds of thousands of turkeys with this vaccine. So we’re continuing to research different vaccine strategies and hopefully we can come up with a vaccine that’s easier to administer when and if we’re allowed to use that.”

Zimmerman also points out that because it’s an influenza strain it could change anytime, making a current vaccine ineffective. 

  • “We have agreements in place that if we begin to vaccinate, they may ban importation”. The article doesn’t explain the complex reasons for this agreements and the mixed results of vaccination campaigns.

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