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About H5N1 vaccination

- and latest warmwell postings about vaccination policy, the perpetuation of the "silent spread" excuse (see emails from practising virologists) and the effects on free-range birds and owners of the UK refusal to allow vaccination

Our special thanks to Anne Lambourn for the hours of unpaid and painstaking work she is doing on behalf of those who want to know the facts about vaccination.

Importance of Rapid Testing to combat the global threat of Bird Flu pdf in new window a pro-vaccination paper and clear guide to diagnostic testing by Adam Meijer (Netherlands) "It is obvious that there is a need for rapid testing in both the veterinary and human field..."

pdf in new window OIE Terrestrial Manual of Diagnostic Tests

COMMISSION DECISION of 4 August 2006 pdf in new window approving a Diagnostic Manual for avian influenza as provided for in Council Directive 2005/94/EC appears in the right frame here =====> =====> =====>

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS - " If vaccination is seen as an option in contingency plans, the availability of vaccines needs to he addressed."

From "Making Avian Influenza Vaccines available, an Industry Point of View" by Paul van Aarle pdf in new window
From OIE Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals VERSION ADOPTED MAY 2005

Some general points on vaccination

The new Council Directive 2005/94/EC of 20 December 2005 on Community measures for the control of avian influenza and repealing Directive 92/40/EEC

now permits preventive vaccination as well as emergency vaccination as part of a disease control strategy against bird flu. Thus it is incorrect to say that the EU does not permit vaccination against avian flu. The exact wording is as follows:





General prohibition of vaccination

Article 52

Manufacture, sale and use of avian influenza vaccines

1. Member States shall ensure that:

(a) vaccination against avian influenza is prohibited on their territory, except as provided for in Sections 2 and 3;




Emergency vaccination

Article 53

Emergency vaccination in poultry or other captive birds

1. A Member state may introduce emergency vaccination in poultry or other captive birds as a short term measure to contain an outbreak when a risk assessment indicates there is a significant and immediate threat of avian influenza spreading within or into the Member State concerned in accordance with this Section where there is one or more of the following:

(a) an outbreak within that Member State;

(b) an outbreak in a nearby Member State; or

(c) where avian influenza has been confirmed in poultry or other captive birds in a nearby third country



Preventive vaccination

Article 56

Preventive vaccination in poultry or other captive birds

1. Member States may introduce preventive vaccination in poultry or other captive birds as a long term measure in accordance with this Section where they deem that on the basis of a risk assessment certain areas of their territory, type of poultry husbandry or certain categories of poultry or other captive birds or the poultry or other captive birds compartments are exposed to the risk of avian influenza.



The full text of the Directive can be found at:

It is concerned primarily with containing potential outbreaks and the procedures for doing this. Chapter IX looks at vaccination and it allows for member states to employ both emergency vaccination as a short term measure to contain an outbreak, but also preventive vaccination as a longer term measure for poultry and captive birds that are exposed to the risk of avian influenza.


There is no legal obligation on any Member State until July 2007 to implement the new Directive (e.g. the right for a member state to apply for preventive vaccination). Furthermore, the exact phrase used in relation to both scenarios is 'A member state may..' , In other words, if the UK chose not to follow this course of action it would not be in breach of the Directive.


If vaccination is used the emphasis is on being able to show that the poultry is subsequently free of disease, both from a disease control point of view, and also for trade.  For that purpose, heterologous or marker vaccines are required (such as the Intervet Nobilis Influenza H5 vaccine), with subsequent monitoring using the DIVA strategy (differentiating infected from  vaccinated animals, based on serological testing) plus sentinel birds. The details below are taken from the Intervet website Guidelines for the Administration of Nobilis Influenza H5 Vaccine as part of an avian Influenza control strategy by J H Breytenbach.  Accessed from link on Intervet website


"Inactivated heterologous vaccines: These vaccines are prepared from a virus with the same H type as the field strain but a different N type (heterologous neuramidase). The immune response to the homologous H type ensures protection, while antibodies against the neuramidase of the field virus can be used as a marker. Selecting an inactivated heterologous vaccine enables the application of a DIVA (Differentiating Infected from Vaccinated Animals) strategy to demonstrate that the field virus is no longer circulating in a vaccinated poultry population, a prerequisite for the lifting of trade bans. (The current highly pathogenic avian influenza epizootic affecting a number of Asian countries is caused by a subtype H5N1 avian influenza strain. Intervets Nobilis Influenza H5 vaccine has as its active component the inactivated low pathogenic Mexican avian influenza strain, subtype H5N2 (A/chicken/Mexico/232/94/CPA). Nobilis Influenza H5 is thus a suitable candidate heterologous vaccine. It has been shown to afford protection against H5N1 viruses in the region)."


"Serological monitoring: tests: IFT an ad hoc immunofluorescence test that has been developed and used to detect antibodies to a specific N-subtype.  This technique was employed in Italy as part of the DIVA strategy.  An IFT was developed to detect antibodies to the specific N-subype (neuramidase) of the circulating field virus.  An AI virus with a different N-subtype was used in the vaccine, thus enabling differentiation between vaccinated and infected flocks


  The links to the Decisions authorising specific preventive vaccination in the Netherlands and France are below.




emails to warmwell from virologist

19 July 2007 ~ "We've expanded the national veterinary stockpile to attain another 40 million doses of avian influenza vaccine for birds." From yesterday's White House Press Briefing on National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan One Year Summary ".......This brings our total supply to 140 million doses of kill vaccine to protect older birds. We also have a contract in place that will quickly give us access to another 500 million doses of live pox recombinant H5N1 vaccine to protect younger birds. I should mention that it is impractical to attempt to vaccinate all poultry, as we've seen in other countries. In the event of a highly pathogenic AI detection, vaccines can be used to protect healthy birds outside the perimeter of the outbreak...."

12 June 2007 ~ More coverage of EFSA's positive conclusions about bird flu vaccines

June 6 2007 ~ Avian Influenza " AI vaccines meet quality standards and are safe and effective in vaccination against AI in domestic flocks in Europe." EFSA.

May 21 2007 ~ " perfect efficacy result" in trials of H5N1 flu vaccine

March 10 2007 ~ "Prevention and control of avian influenza: the need for a paradigm shift

March 2 2007 ~ Verona Conference. Ben Bradshaw says only that DEFRA "officials" will attend

February 28 2007 ~ Vaccinated animals do not go visiting unvaccinated ones

February 27/28 2007 ~ EU to set up emergency rapid reaction veterinary teams ready to move within 24 to 36 hours

February 26 2007 ~ "it is timely to convene the best renowned experts to address the issue of global guidelines for vaccination"

February 23 2007 ~ "Stakeholders are currently talking to DEFRA about vaccination delivery. A third meeting should eventually be held..."

February 21/22 2007 ~ "There is little question that adequate vaccination will reduce shedding levels and thus the virus load.."

February 21/22 2007 ~ Vaccination of birds. Russia moves immediately. UK still dithers

February 21 2007 ~ It is imperative that the highly pathogenic H5N1 is stopped from circulating round the world. It is dangerous to expose humans and wild birds to infected domestic poultry.

February 20 2007 ~ Russia to vaccinate all birds near Moscow

February 19/20 2007 ~ "Where has the idea that there is long term circulation of H5N1 in a fully vaccinated flock in the absence of disease in the flock come from?"

February 19 2007 ~ enshrined, as if in amber, is the back-covering rider that vaccinated poultry may become infected

February 19 2007 ~ Of course no vaccination for any disease, animal or human, can ever be 100% but if enough individuals are vaccinated a virus infection can be eliminated.

February 16/17 2007 ~ "DEFRA statements on the role of vaccination in the control of virulent livestock viruses could make better informed people weep"

February 14 2007 ~ H5N1 vaccination: "I am sure that vaccine would break the transmission cycle even in high density flocks"

February 13/14 2007 ~ Selective reporting from interviews with virologists "No one is asking the right questions and they all know that they are not"

February 11/12 2007 ~ It is vital that advice in controlling outbreaks is given by professionally qualified clinical virologists (in human medicine and ideally veterinary medicine as well of course) in conjunction with scientists.

February 11 2007 ~ "absurdly unscientific misinformation about why we cannot use vaccination..."

February 10 2007 ~ Vaccination: a tool for the control of avian influenza - conference 20th -22nd March 2007 - Verona, Italy

February 9 2007 ~ We are told that vaccination for a current strain does indeed work.

February 9 2007 ~"...There are also questions to be answered about what ministers knew and when, and if they had information last Monday, why didn't they disclose that information?" Peter Ainsworth

February 7 2007 ~ The myth of the silent spread of virus by vaccinated birds ... is just that. - utter nonsense.

February 7 2007 ~ " there is a danger that reliance on avian flu vaccination for birds could spread the disease further and thus be dangerous" Mary, As I am sure that you know, this is complete and utter rubbish

February 5/6 2007 ~ " Is she saying that Defra has no qualified virologists at the heart of the organisation?"

February 5/6 2007 ~ 10 million doses of vaccine?

February 5 2007 ~ When bona-fide, certified, safety-and-efficacy- tested vaccines are used, the results do not disappoint.

February 4/5 2007 ~".... the first 71 birds died last Tuesday. But the outbreak was not reported to government vets until Thursday evening, after another 1,000 died.

February 4/5 2007 ~ "H5N1 strain of bird flu is essentially a problem of industrial poultry practices"

February 4 2007 ~ Bird Flu: Sir David King ruled out vaccination a year ago

February 4 2007 ~ "Killing infected poultry flocks ad infinitum, without adjunct a policy that has not been successful over the last decade"

February 4 2007 ~ CIWF has never been allowed to visit Matthews' factories

February 3 2007 ~ Suffolk bird disease is H5N1



































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