Faced with the health threat, the French state wants to act. Faced, like the rest of Europe, with a catastrophic epizootic of bird flu that led to the slaughter of tens of millions of poultry on the continent, the executive board set itself this Thursday the goal of launching the first vaccination of poultry in the fall of 2023.
In France, from 1 August to 21 December, 3.3 million animals have already been slaughtered, half of which are ducks. Two million were killed in December alone, according to the French Ministry of Agriculture.
Results of the first tests in March 2023
Despite many obstacles, this ministry presented this Thursday the outline of an action plan to “avoid a new crisis” next fall. A real logistical challenge, knowing that at present there is no sufficiently effective vaccine with a marketing authorization and even less European regulations allowing vaccination.
According to the schedule presented this Thursday, the first results of laboratory tests should be known around March 2023. “To date, they are quite encouraging, with a good response to the virus,” the ministry said.
The most serious bird flu in history
During the same period, the National Health Security Agency (ANSES) will be required to present various “relevant vaccination scenarios”. For example, it may recommend starting with certain species, ducks and turkeys being the most fragile.
The French state will then try to define its vaccination strategy, quantify the costs and decide who will pay. The bird flu epidemic is the “most devastating” in Europe in its entire history, European health authorities estimated on Tuesday, with more than 50 million birds slaughtered in infected farms alone between 2021 and 2022. .
The acceleration of the spread of the virus is not only linked to the drop in temperatures, but also to the “high migratory activity of wild birds”, the ministry states. A total of 226 outbreaks on farms have been registered since 1 August. The previous wave in France, between the end of November 2021 and the middle of May 2022, had led to the killing of more than 20 million poultry.