The government pushes back the deadline for bird flu vaccination to autumn 2023

The bird flu virus flares up again in France. And especially in the Vendée. This department alone concentrates almost half of the 226 outbreaks recorded since August throughout the national territory. A new epizootic which to date has led to the expected slaughter of 3.3 million poultry, turkeys, ducks and chickens combined. Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau therefore chose to take a trip to the Vendée, Thursday 22 December, to meet professionals, shaken by this health crisis. Among the crucial issues being discussed is vaccination against bird flu. Mr. Fesneau has announced his intention to postpone the vaccination deadline until autumn 2023 at best.

Also read: Bird flu: after the slaughter of millions of poultry, France wants to vaccinate in autumn 2023

This sensitive topic was put on the table by his predecessor Julien Denormandie almost a year ago. The H5N1 virus was making a comeback yesterday. The fourth wave of bird flu since 2015 began to unfold. It turned out to be on an unprecedented scale, affecting South-West, then Great-West. From autumn 2021 to the end of spring 2022, approximately 1,400 outbreaks have been detected, leading to the killing of more than 21 million poultry.

At the end of July, the Agency for Health Safety (Anses) was seized by the Ministry of Agriculture for a statement. It had to assess the relevance and methods of implementing a vaccine strategy in gallinaceae for autumn 2022. The experts emphasized emphasizing “the particularly tight deadlines imposed to deal with the material issues raised in this reference. They recall that this type of questioning should not require urgent processing and should have been foreseen, which could have been done if the warnings from specialists in this field and ANSES had been taken into account.. An introductory remark written in the opinion submitted to the Ministry on 27 October.

Ongoing tests

If the deadlines were limited to get an answer to the question asked, it seems that they were less to publish it. We had to wait until December 16 to know the contents. Experts point to the existence of a vaccine, Nobilis Influenza H5N2, with a Community Marketing Authorization (AMM). It has also been used since 2006 in zoos in France to protect birds. But it has not been updated. Four other vaccines (Poulvac Flufend H5N1, Avian Influenza Vaccine H5N3, Volvac BEST and Vectormune AI) are listed in the US. They are currently not registered in the EU. In this context, “the conditions are not met for the implementation of vaccination in galliformes for autumn 2022”, essentially say the experts. But they are calling for a strong signal from the government and point out “the need to continue discussions with vaccine manufacturers to develop an effective national vaccine strategy to combat avian influenza for all poultry by autumn 2023”.

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