Mass vaccination of poultry has been initiated in Russia to contain the spread of the much dreaded bird flu virus. Provinces in Southern Russia, believed to face an increased risk of bird flu have already been provided with millions of bird flu vaccine.
The initial focus of the vaccination programme would be targeted at delivery of the bird flu vaccine to farms, located close to ponds and other water sources. Such areas face an enhanced bird flu threat as migratory birds frequent it. It has been proposed to complete the project by July, this year.
Domestic fowl would be vaccinated free of cost. The local farmers have been warned against fake vaccines, sold by criminals, who pose themselves as vets. Furthermore, farmers have been urged to keep their poultry indoors to limit the spread of the avian influenza virus.
Although some experts have criticized bird flu vaccination as being dangerous, the European Union has granted permission to vaccinate fowl in France and Netherlands, as a precautionary measure. More than a million poultry deaths have been reported in Russia.
Critics against bird flu vaccination argue that the vaccine does not confer complete protection against bird flu and is highly expensive. Furthermore, they believe that it may lead to an increased risk among humans, as a consequence of viral mutation. This being on one side, members of farmer's association and health officials have welcomed the vaccination policy.
So far, no case of human-human bird flu transmission has been reported so far. However, it is feared that the virus may acquire this capacity, leading to the possibility of bird flu pandemic.