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U.S. considers vaccines to protect poultry from deadly bird flu

Published Apr 04, 2022 07:14AM ET Updated Apr 04, 2022 08:45PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Chickens feed from a row of feed bins at C&A Farms in Fairmont, North Carolina June 10, 2014. Picture taken June 10, 2014.

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is looking into vaccines as an option to protect poultry against deadly bird flu, the agency's chief veterinary officer said as the country faces its worst outbreak since 2015.

Supporters say vaccines could help keep poultry alive, prevent financial losses and control food costs, though shots would be too late to stop the current outbreak that has wiped out 22 million chickens and turkeys in commercial flocks since February.

Previously, the United States has eschewed vaccines, worried that importers will ban U.S. poultry shipments because they cannot distinguish infected birds from vaccinated ones. The United States is the world's second-largest poultry meat exporter a major egg producer, with shipments reaching $4.2 billion in 2020.

However, the USDA's Agricultural Research Service is investigating the potential for a vaccine that could be distinguished from the wild type of virus spread to poultry, Chief Veterinary Officer Rosemary Sifford said in an interview.

"We feel strongly that if we could develop a vaccine like that, that would have less of a trade impact," Sifford said. Researchers estimate that would take at least nine months to develop, she said.

Bird flu has hit poultry in Europe and Asia in addition to North America, and Sifford said the USDA is working with other countries on options for vaccines. Trading has suffered, as importers like China have blocked imports from more than a dozen U.S. states with outbreaks.

Though vaccines could protect poultry, some producers worry they would be cost prohibitive for chickens raised for meat, which only live about five to seven weeks.

Still the International Poultry Council, an industry group representing producers worldwide, is reviewing the possibilities, said Jim Sumner, a council member and president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council.

"We recognize that in some extreme cases of severe outbreaks, maybe vaccination needs to be considered as an option," Sumner said.

U.S. considers vaccines to protect poultry from deadly bird flu
 

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Comments (11)
Johnny Crash
Johnny Crash Apr 05, 2022 12:45AM ET
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I will never eat anything with vaccine inside those vax just make you sick, demolish your immune system
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Apr 04, 2022 10:31PM ET
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Really glad I quit eating that garbage.
Jose Cabreja
Jose Cabreja Apr 04, 2022 9:59PM ET
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🤣🤣🤣🤡
Amanda Targaryen
Amanda Targaryen Apr 04, 2022 9:41PM ET
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Go vegan!!!
Ronald Warren
Ronald Warren Apr 04, 2022 9:27PM ET
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You did read that the life span of a chicken for slaughter is only 5 to 7 weeks. They're already pumped with steroids and hormones.
Kelly Mayer
Kelly Mayer Apr 04, 2022 9:20PM ET
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Psychopaths. Should be put in jail to even consider this. This is dark and sick and a complete disregard of the nuremberg code. I can already envision vaccinated poultry being on discount during the upcoming food crisis. Sick twisted folks behind this.
Meru Pet
Meru Pet Apr 04, 2022 9:05PM ET
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a pass for all chicken!
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Apr 04, 2022 9:00PM ET
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I doubt the organic loving progressive followers of Biden and the Democrats will go for this.
Meru Pet
Meru Pet Apr 04, 2022 9:00PM ET
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if the left does it, by the magic power of black Karla Marx, it's organic again!
Flat Top
Flat Top Apr 04, 2022 8:57PM ET
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I will stop eating chicken
Andrew Allen
Andrew Allen Apr 04, 2022 8:35AM ET
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b b but the vaccines for people worked so well! hurr durr
 
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