bird flu

United States and European Union Consider Bird Flu Vaccinations

Dan Avian Influenza, Cattle, Dairy, Marketing, Poultry, USDA-FDA

bird flu
Woman shopping milk in grocery store
By Sergey Ryzhov/Shutterstock image

The United States and European Union are taking steps to acquire or manufacture H5N1 bird flu vaccines. Reports say the vaccines would protect at-risk poultry and dairy workers, veterinarians, and lab technicians. Experts say this could curb a pandemic threat. U.S. officials are already moving bulk vaccine that closely matches the current virus into almost five million vaccine doses.

These actions come after the rapid spread of a new bird flu that first emerged in late 2020, killing a large number of wild birds and domestic poultry. In 2024, the virus began infecting several mammal species, including cattle. The virus has infected a large number of cattle in nine states and two dairy employees.

The Food and Drug Administration estimates that 20 percent of the U.S. milk supply shows signs of the virus, which could indicate a wider spread in dairy cows around the nation. Officials say pasteurized milk remains safe because the pasteurization process kills the virus. The virus can live in raw, unpasteurized milk.

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Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.