While APHIS has not approved the use of vaccine to respond to HPAI to date, the Agency is preparing to ensure that vaccine is available should the decision be made to use it. APHIS is seeking to create a stockpile of vaccine for the Eurasian H5 (EA H5) virus strain that circulated in domestic poultry earlier this year. APHIS issued a request for proposals yesterday for vaccine manufacturers with the interest and capability to supply a variety of EA H5 vaccines in sufficient numbers to establish the emergency stockpile.
Vaccines will be carefully evaluated on a number of factors including their efficacy against EA H5 viruses, and products must meet all of APHIS’ safety, potency, and purity standards. All eligible products to be considered must be either conditionally or fully licensed or permitted at the time of submission. Vaccine manufacturers will be evaluated on their ability to produce such vaccines in a timely manner in adequate numbers to meet the needs of the response.
The RFP is available here: https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=56f3e86d4538b147c5803c4e335ad9f6&tab=core&_cview=1
In the coming weeks, APHIS will also publish an environmental assessment that examines the impacts of using HPAI vaccine in the field during an outbreak response. This assessment will look at two alternatives: approving vaccine use targeting EA H5 viruses or taking no action. Once published, the EA will have a 30-day public comment period.
It is important to note that these actions do not obligate APHIS to purchase vaccines from any companies that respond to the request for proposals and do not imply the Agency has made a decision to use vaccination. A decision to use vaccination would require careful consideration of the efficacy of the vaccine, any impacts of using HPAI vaccine in the field, and the potential trade impacts, and would be made jointly by APHIS and State animal health authorities. Today’s actions are being taken to ensure the Agency and its partners are well-positioned to respond to a future outbreak.