USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is issuing a second request for an avian flu vaccine.
The agency says as it continues to prepare for a return of the highly pathogenic virus, manufacturers can submit vaccines to ensure a sufficient variety is available.
Steve Olson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, says disease mutation is possible.
“And that’s the challenge that we have is that like with any living organism, they can change. And if this virus changes, that might mean that the vaccine we have right now is not going to be as effective or effective at all against this virus or protecting those birds.”
In response to its first request issued in August, APHIS awarded contracts to Iowa-based Harris Vaccines and French animal health company Ceva for doses of two vaccines.
The agency has not approved the use of either one, but has been collecting an emergency stockpile in the event of another outbreak.
Although no decision has been made to use vaccine in the event of a future HPAI outbreak, APHIS will continue to issue requests for proposals for vaccine manufacturers on a quarterly basis through September 2016, to allow additional products to be developed and considered for the stockpile should an HPAI outbreak occur.