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September 08, 2005

Vietnam's vaccination programs behind schedule

"The poultry inoculation program against bird flu is slipping behind. The trial programs, scheduled to end within a month, have failed. We will review them before expanding the vaccination to other localities," said Hoang Van Nam, one of the directors in veterinary department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

In June, officials launched two pilot vaccination programs in Tien Giang province in the south and Nam Dinh in the north. Lessons drawn from the trials were supposed to help officials extend the vaccinations on a nationwide scale.

In Tien Giang, rains and floods slowed down the pilot program and only 38 out of 127 communes have gotten their flocks vaccinated. In Nam Dinh, the results were better, with 3.1 million fowls out of 4.3 million having been vaccinated.

Local newspapers have, however, pointed out that the sheer number of fowls to be vaccinated was far bigger than expected and the supply of vaccines slow.

Health officials planned to vaccinate some 3 million birds, but preliminary checks showed that actual number population of domestic birds at around 6 million. The country had only set aside about 30 million U.S. dollars for the nationwide campaign, and many experts think the funding was not enough.

"No fear of vaccine shortage. They will be sent shortly," assured Nguyen Thi Viet Nga, director of the Tien Giang veterinary center. But Nga acknowledged a problem with range fowl. "We could not take into account all the ducks raised in the open fields."

In the Mekong delta, farmers raise ducks in the open, driving them from place to place to feed, including into harvested rice fields to feed on fallen grain. Fattened, the ducks are taken to markets in big cities like Can Tho and HCM City.

Red Nova has the full story.

Posted by dymaxion at September 8, 2005 12:57 PM

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