As USDA continues to work with state and local officials impacted by this year’s devastating outbreak of avian influenza, government officials say they have evaluated the efficacy of available vaccine options for HPAI, but determined additional criteria must be met before a vaccine can be approved for emergency use.

Currently, USDA says the only vaccine available is effective just 60 percent of the time in chickens, which would leave four in ten birds unprotected. Its effectiveness in turkeys is still being studied.

“Vaccines currently available are not well matched and do not meet a suitable level of efficacy,” USDA said. “USDA also wants to be sure that the vaccine industry is in a position to produce enough doses to create an effective control measure. Finally, additional outreach with trading partners will be required to avoid significant market disruptions

The department says it will continue to support development of a more effective vaccine, assist poultry producers with strong biosecurity measures, indemnify producers for losses, and take aggressive action to maintain open markets for US poultry based on international standards.

 Should a vaccine be used, USDA says some international trading partners have indicated they would ban all US exports of poultry and eggs until a thorough risk assessment could be completed. According to USDA, the loss of these markets would potentially cost US poultry producers billions in lost export sales.