Vietnam to vaccinate some poultry against avian flu

May 4, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Vietnam is moving forward with a plan to fight the spread of avian influenza by vaccinating roughly 600,000 chickens in Ho Chi Minh City, according to news reports today.

A vaccine produced by a French company called Merial will be administered to chickens on commercial farms this month, the Associated Press (AP) reported today, citing Phan Xuan Thao, deputy director of the city's animal health department.

Only chickens on commercial farms will receive the vaccine, Thao told the AP. They will be closely monitored. If results are good, the vaccine could be used more widely in Vietnam.

Vietnam's Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted a national animal health department official as saying that Vietnam had agreed to let commercial chicken farms test another vaccine, the AP reported. That vaccine, produced in the Netherlands, could be used on up to 2.7 million chickens. The farms are run by Vietnam Breeding Co. and Japfa Comfeed Co., according to a report by Thanh Nien News in Vietnam.

The reports did not specify how the vaccinations would be conducted, but an April 19 story by the Vietnam News Service said the government planned to try using an H5N2 vaccine in chickens and an H5N1 vaccine in waterfowl. The story said the vaccinations would begin in Tien Giang and Nam Dinh provinces in southern and northern Vietnam, respectively.

Poultry immunization for avian flu has been controversial in Asian countries because of concerns that vaccinated birds could still carry the virus asymptomatically and that this could hurt food exports.

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