About 10 million doses of bird flu vaccine were ordered on the advice of the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) to be given to all poultry in England.
The decision was taken after the organic free-range poultry producers requested the government. But the problem is that the vaccines could mask the presence of bird flu and so assist its spread of the disease. But the CVO also said in a statement that vaccinating the poultry in advance of an avian influenza outbreak should not be done as there is a limitation in the availability of vaccines.
The European Union has allowed Europe's two largest poultry producers, France and the Netherlands, to vaccinate hens, ducks and geese against a deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu. Supporters of vaccination and the organic producers said that the vaccine is the only other alternative to locking the birds indoors as it would threaten their poultry's free-range status. The vaccine could be used against both the H5 and H7 strains of the disease. The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed more than 100 people and millions of bird. But there had been no cases in Britain among domestic poultry or humans.