U.S. government makes plans to stockpile avian flu vaccine
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) is making preparations for a potential recurrence of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus this fall, according to an agency release. The virus affected more than 48 million birds in more than 200 poultry facilities earlier this year. One step in these preparations is to examine the potential use of a vaccine to help prevent illness and interrupt the spread of the disease. In part, APHIS is issuing a request for proposals (RFP) for vaccine doses to equip the National Veterinary Stockpile.
Though APHIS has not approved the use of the vaccine to respond to an outbreak to date, it wants to make sure the vaccine will be available if the government decides to use it. The agency is looking to stockpile the vaccine for the Eurasian H5 (EA H5) strain that has affected domestic poultry, according to the release.
APHIS will also publish an assessment evaluating the potential environmental impact of using the vaccine in the event of an outbreak, the release states. The assessment will look at two scenarios: approving vaccine use and targeting EA H5 viruses, or taking no action.
Vaccine manufacturers interested in supplying a variety of EA H5 vaccines in sufficient quantities to establish the emergency stockpile can find the RFP here.