EU ministers adopt conclusions on avian influenza vaccination

Vaccination seen as a complementary tool to biosecuritye
calendar icon 25 May 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

In the face of recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the poultry sector, agriculture ministers yesterday adopted conclusions on a strategic approach for the development of vaccination as a complementary tool for the prevention and control of the epizootic.

The measures contained in the conclusions are aimed in particular at the poultry sector in the context of the most serious epizootic in recent history in Europe. In their discussions, ministers underlined the cross-border nature of the animal disease and its ability to spread very rapidly, irrespective of national borders, causing serious socio-economic consequences that hamper agriculture and disrupt trade. They also recalled the risk that HPAI could pose to human health.

Ministers underlined the paramount importance of the application of strict biosecurity and other existing HPAI prevention and control measures, and agreed that vaccination could usefully complement these measures and help reduce the risk of spread among domestic poultry. They also called for further scientific knowledge, including updated risk assessments, and asked member states and the Commission to intensify their efforts to develop vaccination strategies targeted at risk areas, species and farming practices. Member states were also encouraged to carry out vaccination trials and share their results through scientific collaboration.

Ministers reiterated the importance of monitoring the evolution of circulating virus strains. They also invited the Commission to explore the possibilities of a pooled purchase or vaccine bank mechanism to ensure a robust and responsive supply of vaccines. Finally, they called for joint efforts to enhance the acceptability of HPAI vaccination in international trade and invited the Commission and member states to develop an operational roadmap to support these dialogues and discussions.

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