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UK Government orders avian influenza vaccine

by 5m Editor
2 October 2006, at 1:29pm

UK - Pharmaceutical company Intervet will supply the UK with ten million doses of avian influenza vaccine, following a tendering process announced by Defra in July.

The vaccine can be used against both H5 and H7 strains of the virus and could be used in poultry and other captive birds if a risk assessment and scientific evidence indicates it would help prevent disease spread.

The UK's policy on vaccination remains unchanged. Due to uncertainties in the future nature and spread of the virus, this supply is part of sensible contingency planning. Defra would not use currently available vaccines in advance of an outbreak or as an immediate disease control response. Early reporting, rapid action, biosecurity, culling and surveillance remain the most effective methods of protecting against and controlling an avian influenza outbreak.

Five million doses of the vaccine have already been manufactured at Intervet's production facility in Spain and are expected to arrive in the UK within the next 3 weeks following labelling and shipping. After inspection by UK authorities, this vaccine will then be fully ready for use.

The remaining five million doses will take a further 13 weeks to manufacture due to the need to first grow and purify the virus and carry out quality checks.

This step comes after 2.3 million doses of vaccine were bought earlier this year for a possible risk based preventive vaccination of zoo birds.

The vaccine would be available for all UK administrations.

Further Information

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5m Editor