Trial with vaccines against bird flu successful 09:56 in Binnenland , Politics However, there are still several obstacles that stand in the way of large-scale vaccination.

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This poultry farm in Nieuw-Weerdinge in Drenthe was cleared in September last year
NOS News

Two vaccines have proven successful in protecting chickens against bird flu. This has emerged from research by the University of Wageningen. In a lab situation, the vaccinations protect the chickens against bird flu and prevent the spread of the virus.

In a letter to the House of Representatives, Minister Adema of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality says he is pleased with the results of the study. He is taking the next step towards large-scale vaccination: testing the vaccines at a few poultry farms.

Many more bumps

The current bird flu wave, which has lasted about a year and a half, is the most severe in Europe. 5 million chickens and other poultry have been killed. “A vaccination is the solution to this problem,” said Bart-Jan Oplaat, chairman of the Dutch Poultry Farmers’ Union.

Yet European regulations currently prevent the use of a vaccine. Although the vaccination of chickens has been allowed for a few days, trading in (the products of) vaccinated poultry abroad still causes problems.

“A vaccine for chickens is of no use if you don’t lose your eggs,” says Oplaat. “But with a well-functioning vaccine we are ten steps further.”

The minister is preparing a pilot to investigate the effects of vaccinated chickens on the trade, he writes in the letter to parliament. “It is important that there is sufficient support: among other Member States in the European Union, among poultry farmers and among market parties,” says Adema.

This pilot will examine on a larger scale how the vaccination program can be organized responsibly. It is scheduled to start at the end of this year.

Not suitable for all poultry

The tested vaccines can be injected into a hen’s egg. Day-old chicks can also be vaccinated in the hatchery.

However, the vaccines are only suitable for a few types of poultry. “Only chickens and turkeys are protected against bird flu with these vaccines,” explains Nancy Beerens, researcher at Wageningen University. “The vaccines don’t work for ducks, geese and other bird species.”

Other vaccines against bird flu are being tested in France, Italy and Hungary. These should protect ducks, turkeys and geese against the virus.

NOS op 3 previously made this explanation video about bird flu:

The great danger in the air: avian flu explained

The great danger in the air: avian flu explained

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