The European Commission has changed its rules to pave the way for vaccination of poultry against avian influenza (AI).
Although no vaccines are currently permissible, the EC said it was ‘harmonising’ its rules on vaccination against serious animal diseases. When AI vaccines become available, the change in rules “will allow safe movements of animals and products from establishments and zones where vaccination has taken place.”
Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “In light of the most serious outbreak in recent history in the EU, the fight against avian influenza is at the top of our priorities. These outbreaks are causing enormous damage to this agricultural sector and hamper trade. The rules presented today will allow for a harmonisation of the use of vaccination to prevent or control the spread of the disease and set conditions to enable movement of vaccinated animals and their products.”
These new rules are in line with the international standards of the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as OIE) and take account of newly available scientific knowledge and the experience gained in the application of the existing Union rules.