Europe 1 with AFP 12:33 pm, June 05, 2023

The vaccination campaign against bird flu should start in October, announced Marc Fesneau, the Minister of Agriculture, while professionals in the sector hoped to see a vaccine this summer. The virus has been circulating since May in the South-West departments, where 81 farms have been contaminated.

The vaccination campaign against bird flu should start during the month of October, said Monday the Minister of Agriculture Marc Fesneau during a trip to Gironde. "I repeat, in October we will be able to vaccinate," Marc Fesneau told the press, on the sidelines of a meeting with representatives of the Bordeaux vineyard in Salleboeuf, about twenty km east of Bordeaux.

"If we can save time we will do it"

At the end of May, the chambers of agriculture of four departments of the South-West as well as the interprofessions of foie gras and lean poultry of the region had called for "a deployment" of the vaccine "in the heart of summer" to ensure the "survival" of local duck and poultry farms.

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"I hear despair perfectly. If we can save a little time we will do it, but to say today, as before for the Covid-19 vaccine, that we can shorten the schedules is not serious, "explained Marc Fesneau, listing the processes of validation, manufacture, deployment and storage of the vaccine, to be put in place before launching the campaign "in good order".

81 farms contaminated in May in Gers, Landes and Pyrénées-Atlantiques

After several years of successive crises caused by avian influenza, the virus has been circulating again since the beginning of May in the Gers, Landes and Pyrénées-Atlantiques, with 81 farms contaminated, more than half of them in the Gers, according to the count of the authorities at the end of May. "Obviously, we have passed the peak, because we have taken very strong measures, of this episode," said the Minister of Agriculture Monday.

Two vaccines tested in France have already proved "very effective" on ducks raised for foie gras, reported on May 25 the health security agency (ANSES), paving the way for a national vaccination campaign "from the autumn", according to the first estimates of the ministry. During the previous epizootic in 2022-2023, six million poultry were slaughtered in France according to the ministry, after 22 million in 2021-2022.