Doubts over vaccination

UK - Mass vaccination of poultry could do more harm than good, it has been claimed.

The French authorities have ordered all birds to be either kept indoors or vaccinated after the first confirmed case of the virus was confirmed in a wild duck near Lyon.

While there was general agreement among producers in Norfolk that rare species may benefit from a vaccination programme, it may not be the best answer for the majority of poultry farmers.

Most vaccines are administered in the birds' drinking water, which means innoculations can be carried out in a few hours.

But no such water based drug vaccine exists for bird flu.

Nigel Joice, a poultry farmer in South Raynham with 500,000 chickens, and a member of the NFU Poultry Committee, said there were risks and logistical problems with injecting birds.

“If we had to vaccinate our chickens, we would have to do it twice and they won't become immune for another three weeks. A vaccinated chicken could still be shedding the disease but wouldn't show any symptoms.

“You could have carriers masking the disease which could lead to total wipeout.

“My birds have a relatively short life span and I'm not sure that the vaccine would get to them.

Source: EDP24/i>
calendar icon 21 February 2006
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