Vietnam launches bird flu vaccination campaign

Vietnam will launch the third round of its nationwide bird flu vaccination campaign this amid warnings by the prime minister that the country must remain vigilant against the disease.

Vietnam imported 150 million doses of poultry vaccine from China last month for the new campaign, Animal Health Department Deputy Director Hoang Van Nam said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday.

So far, Vietnam has vaccinated more than 120 million poultry.

Vaccinations will start Thursday in the northern province of Nam Dinh and Friday in southern Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, the two provinces that received their first vaccinations last August, he said.

Poultry in the higher-risk provinces of the northern Red River Delta, southern Mekong Delta, and around Ho Chi Minh City will be vaccinated over the rest of February and March.

In remaining provinces, only poultry in high-risk areas such as towns, former outbreak sites and border areas will be vaccinated, he said.

So far, the vaccine campaign begun last August has appeared to help reduce the number of outbreaks.

"More than 80 percent of the vaccinated poultry developed immunity," Nam said. "No outbreaks were reported in poultry which received two doses of the vaccine."

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai urged ministries and local governments not to be complacent against bird flu despite the lack of any outbreaks among poultry in two months and no human cases reported since Nov. 14, reports the AP.