China is gearing up for an autumn poultry vaccination effort,
expecting to give doses to 5 billion fowl by the end of the year,
the Ministry of Agriculture said Tuesday.
The seasonal campaign, the largest scale in the world, is
expected to further fortify the country's defenses against the
lethal bird flu.
"The only way to prevent the spread of bird flu is to ramp up
vaccinations," Vice-Minister Zhang Baowen told a press conference
held by the State Council Information Office Tuesday.
"We'll strictly check how vaccination work is being done in
In the first half of this year, vaccines were administered to at
least 4.88 billion birds, and an estimated further 5 billion fowl
will be vaccinated before the end of the year, Jia Youling, chief
of the ministry's Veterinary Bureau, told China Daily
Li Jinxiang, deputy chief of the bureau, said the ministry has
made detailed plans for the vaccination, and will also monitor for
signs of vaccine-resistant strains, showing admirable
A national televised meeting is scheduled for later this month
to formally unveil the vaccination campaign, according to ministry
Li conceded that bird flu virus may proliferate through domestic
poultry trade, as studies have found that some waterfowl may carry
viruses but show no symptoms.
Other challenges for bird flu control include the difficulty of
vaccinating all courtyard farm flocks in some remote mountainous
areas. There are also the problems brought by migratory wild birds,
some of which, according to the ministry's monitoring, carry
viruses, Li told the press conference.
"Governments at all levels along with veterinary departments are
striving to solve these difficulties," Li said.
Li also said China is active in promoting global and regional
collaboration in bird flu control.
The country has provided technical support for its neighbors
including Vietnam, Mongolia, North Korea and Indonesia.
It has also cooperated well with the World Health Organization
(WHO), the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations
and the World Bank, Li said.
China provided five samples of bird flu strains to the WHO in
2004, and is in the course of exchanging strains with international
laboratories designated by the WHO.
"When viral strains cross international borders, special
protocols are needed and we are working to complete those," he
China's most recent H5N1 bird flu outbreak was identified in
mid-August at a farm in Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan Province.
In a related development, Indonesia has purchased 91 million
doses of bird flu vaccine from China and already received 31
million doses, with the remainder expected to arrive early this
month, said Musni Suatmojo, director of veterinary with the
Indonesia's Ministry of Agriculture, on Monday.
(China Daily September 6, 2006)