Food workers face obstacles getting Covid-19 vaccinations

The thousands of workers who pick, pack, and process our food have become eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in many states. But they still face obstacles to actually getting the vaccine, as companies sort out their vaccination policies and advocates struggle to secure enough doses for a workforce that ranks among the most vulnerable to the coronavirus. (No paywall)

Temp-agency food workers should be prioritized for vaccine, advocates say

Workers in food distribution, production, and logistics who are employed by temporary staffing agencies and other subcontractors should be prioritized for early access to the Covid-19 vaccine alongside other food system workers, argues a new report focused on the Chicago labor force. (No paywall)

With food workers likely to receive a Covid-19 vaccine early, experts say states should prepare now

Many states are prioritizing food system workers for early access to any Covid-19 vaccine, and experts say officials should begin outreach to workers now to overcome any trust, language, and access barriers, writes Leah Douglas in FERN’s latest story. A vaccine may be made available to …

U.S. years away from large supply of African swine fever vaccine

Researchers have identified a promising candidate for an African swine fever vaccine but the United States remains two to five years away from having a large supply, said Agriculture Undersecretary Greg Ibach. Speakers at the USDA's annual Ag Outlook Forum said China, hit by an ASF epidemic, would struggle to rebuild hog herds in the near term.

A bird-flu vaccine that many producers don’t want

The government is stockpiling up to 500 million doses of vaccine against highly pathogenic avian influenza in the wake of the worst-ever U.S. epidemic of bird flu that killed nearly 50 million fowl. "But many in the $48 billion [poultry] industry don't want it," reports Bloomberg.

Drugmaker Merck buys innovator Harrisvaccines

Merck Animal Health, part of global pharmaceutical giant Merck, is buying privately owned Harrisvaccines, the companies said in a joint announcement. Merck said it has a "robust portfolio of vaccines across all animal species" and Harrisvaccines' specialty of vaccines for food-bearing animals and pets would strengthen the Merck line.

Bird flu vaccination is wise precaution, says drug maker

Avian influenza, which killed nearly 50 million chickens and turkeys in the United States earlier this year, “can now erupt in many areas across the globe” since the virus is spread by migratory waterfowl, says Ceva, a French drug maker, in arguing for inoculation against the disease. The …

Iowa company is first with license for bird-flu vaccine

Harrisvaccines, based in Ames, Iowa, announced it is the first company to receive a USDA conditional license for a vaccine against avian influenza, the disease that killed 10 percent of egg-laying hens earlier this year and drove egg prices to record levels.

Bird-flu plan relies on speedy culling, vaccine on standby

After the "incredible scope" of the worst bird flu epidemic ever to hit the nation earlier this year, the USDA's plan for reducing the risk of an outbreak this fall includes swift culling of infected flocks with a bird-flu vaccine available "as a possible adjunct to, and not a replacement for, a future eradication effort." The usual response to discovery of highly pathogenic avian influenza is to quarantine the affected farm and its surroundings and kill the infected flock to prevent spread of the virus.

In trial, bird-flu vaccine is highly effective in chickens

A trial vaccine against the bird flu was "100 percent effective on chickens" and is now being tested on turkeys, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told lawmakers.

Bird-flu vaccine needs more work, only 60-percent effective

The government said it will not approve release of a vaccine against the worst U.S. epidemic of avian influenza in poultry because none of the drugs now available works well enough. "Currently, there is lack of a well matched, effective vaccine for HPAI [highly pathogenic avian influenza] from the public and private sectors. The vaccine currently available offers just 60 percent effectiveness in chickens, leaving 4 in 10 birds unprotected," said the USDA.

USDA developing bird flu vaccine, no plans to use it

USDA scientists are working on a poultry vaccine against avian influenza with no immediate plans to use it, says Reuters. A test is expected within a couple of months at a poultry-disease lab in Georgia.

Success in deer vaccination against chronic wasting disease

Medical researchers say they developed a vaccination against chronic wasting disease in deer, a fatal brain infection similar to mad cow disease that affects deer, elk, caribou and moose.

Third vaccine for deadly PEDv is near approval

A third vaccine against Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, which has killed 8 million piglets since mid-2013, is on the horizon, says the New York Times. It says MJ Biologics of Mankato, Minn, hopes to get USDA approval for its vaccine soon.

USDA mandates reporting of PEDV outbreaks

Hog farmers are obliged to report outbreaks of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus and work with offiicials to combat the disease and prevent its spread, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced at the World Pork Expo.