US - The USDA has awarded contracts to two companies to manufacture doses of avian influenza vaccine for its National Veterinary Stockpile.
In a statement, the agency insisted the move signalled preparation for future outbreaks, rather than a decision to vaccinate.
So far, no vaccines have been approved for use against avian influenza in the event of another outbreak. Many people in the industry are concerned that approving vaccines may lead to other countries preventing poultry imports from the US, on animal health grounds.
However, the mood has been shifting in the direction of greater support for vaccine use since the devastating outbreaks of bird flu in the US earlier this year.
USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said that any decision to use vaccination in a future HPAI outbreak would require careful consideration of the efficacy of the vaccine, any impacts of using HPAI vaccine in the field, and the potential trade impacts.
Vaccine manufacturers awarded contracts have to have the capability to supply a variety of Eurasian (EA) H5 vaccines in sufficient numbers to establish the emergency stockpile, as well as being able to store, transport and test them for efficacy.
The two companies awarded with these contracts on this occasion are Ceva and Harrisvaccines.
ThePoultrySite News Desk