US, Europe Move Closer to Vaccinating Poultry and Dairy Workers Against Bird Flu

By Jace Dela Cruz

May 28, 2024 08:08 AM EDT

The United States and Europe are reportedly making moves to acquire or produce H5N1 bird flu vaccines to protect poultry and dairy workers, veterinarians, and lab technicians and reduce the risk of a potential pandemic.    

Chickens Bird

(Photo : svklimkin from Pixabay)

US, Europe, and Canada Look to Vaccinate Poultry and Dairy Workers

According to Reuters, US officials recently announced they were converting bulk vaccine from CSL Seqirus, which closely matched the current virus, into finished shots to provide 4.8 million vaccine doses. European health officials told Reuters they are also negotiating to secure CSL's pre-pandemic vaccine.

On the other hand, Canadian health officials are discussing with GSK, the producer of Canada's seasonal flu vaccines, the possibility of manufacturing a prepandemic bird flu vaccine once the seasonal production capacity is available. Several nations, such as the UK, are also considering similar vaccine strategies.

READ NEXT: Michigan Dairy Worker Diagnosed with Bird Flu, Second US Case This Year 

New Bird Flu Strain

These measures follow the rapid spread of a new bird flu strain that emerged in late 2020. This strain has caused a huge number of deaths among wild birds and domestic poultry and has started infecting various mammal species. 

US officials reported the first virus outbreak in dairy cattle in March, which infected dozens of herds in nine states and two dairy workers. The US Food and Drug Administration estimates that 20% of the national milk supply exhibits signs of the virus, suggesting a possible broader spread. 

READ MORE: Australia Detects Bird Flu in Victorian Egg Farm, Plunging Area to Lockdown Amid Fears Strain Could be Similar to What Causes Mass Poultry Deaths Worldwide 

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