Calling it a decision that “signals preparation for a future outbreak, not a decision to vaccinate,” USDA’s Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) announced this week it awarded contracts to two companies to manufacture doses of avian influenza vaccine.

The two companies awarded the contracts are Ceva and Harrisvaccines.

While APHIS has not approved the use of vaccine to respond to HPAI, the agency says it is preparing to ensure a vaccine is available should the decision be made to use it during a future outbreak.

“Any decision to use vaccination in a future HPAI outbreak would require careful consideration of the efficacy of the vaccine, any impacts of using HPAI vaccine in the field, and the potential trade impacts,” APHIS said.

Earlier in the year, APHIS issued a request for proposals (RFP) for vaccine manufacturers with the interest and capability to supply a variety of Eurasian (EA) H5 vaccines in sufficient numbers to establish the emergency stockpile.  As part of the award, companies must:

-Manufacture the number of vaccine doses outlined in their contract, and store those doses up to 5 years

-Deliver the finished vaccine anywhere in the country within 10 days of a request for doses from the National Veterinary Stockpile

-Test the vaccine regularly to ensure continued potency

-Provide information and testing results with APHIS upon request