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Bird flu vaccinations stepped up throughout the country

Over the past two years, the bird flu epidemic has caused great losses for the livestock breeding industry and the national economy. The disease can exist in poultry for a long time, and accordingly it threatens to cause a bird flu epidemic on a large scale. Vaccination is one of the most effective remedies to prevent a recurrence of bird flu.

On July 12, the Prime Minister issued Instruction No 25 requesting cities and provinces, the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Health, Finance and relevant agencies to implement a massive vaccination of poultry throughout the country.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), compulsory vaccinations will be conducted in 47 provinces and cities and other areas of high risk in the remaining localities.

In September, the first massive vaccination campaign was conducted in 15 provinces and cities, and the remaining localities will begin the campaign in October and finish it before November 15 to ensure safe food for people during the upcoming Traditional Lunar New Year Festival.

Bui Quang Anh, head of the MARD Veterinary Department, said Tien Giang and Nam Dinh are the first two provinces to have completed the two vaccination phases, while 28 other provinces are implementing the first phase.

The campaign has received special attention from local Party Committees and administrations. Many localities considered the vaccinations a key task and have made thorough preparations such as information dissemination, training personnel, and distributing vaccines and other necessary equipment for the campaign.

However, several localities have not yet conducted the campaign resolutely, and some have not even approved their vaccination plans, citing financial difficulties as the main reason. Floods in the south and storms in the north recently have also hampered the pace of the campaign. In addition, localities have complained about insufficient number of doses for the vaccination due to difficulties importing the product. As a result, several localities will postpone the first phase of the campaign for two to three weeks in October.

To ensure the deadline and quality standards for the campaign are met, Mr Anh asked relevant agencies to provide sufficient doses of vaccines for localities to ensure the pace of the project is on the right track. In addition, localities should implement other biological safety measures, including disinfecting and sterilising the environment, and re-organising the trading, slaughtering and transport of poultry and related products, as well as poultry farming pratices.

Bid flu vaccines are mostly imported from China and the Netherlands and some contents of the vaccines can cause health problems for people if they eat poultry that was vaccinated less than 28 days beforehand, according to Dr Nguyen Tien Dzung from the Veterinary Department.

To protect people’s health, Mr Dzung asked local steering boards on vaccinations and veterinarians to enhance management work, and, together with farmers, monitor the flock post-vaccination. Poultry and poultry products are banned from circulation if they have been vaccinated less than 28 days beforehand and not verified by local People’s Committees.

To avoid unsafe poultry products, consumers are advised to use slaughtered products sealed by veterinarians. Poultry eggs can still be used if they are cooked well.

VOV - (03/10/2005)

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