Inoculation of the homegrown African swine fever (ASF) vaccine is expected to begin this month and will be used on a large scale by the end of the year, according to Nguyen Van Long, acting director of the Department of Animal Health under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). There will be an assessment for the vaccine application and a decision on widespread use will be considered.
Over 50 farms in ten provinces and cities nationwide have been selected to administer 600,000 doses of vaccine against ASF, Long told local media.
MARD will be using the NAVET-ASFVAC brand produced by NAVETCO National Veterinary Joint Stock Company. Tran Xuan Hanh, deputy director of NAVETCO said that after five laboratory trials, the NAVET-ASFVAC vaccine has been proven to protect at least 80% of immunized pigs, and retained immunity for six months.
He added that following instructions from the Department of Animal Health, his firm has filed a registration form to the Sub-Departments of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine for the African swine fever vaccine. He also assured the public that his company will organize workshops in major provinces and cities to spread awareness among farmers about the vaccine.
“Through the seminars, we want to give thorough instructions on the process of applying and preserving the vaccine,” Hanh said. “The vaccine is good, however, if the injection is not administered in accordance with our technical instructions, it may not be effective. Therefore, the injection needs to be done carefully.”
More than 50% of the farms in Vietnam are small-scale. So, when the ASF was first detected in the country in February 2019, six million pigs, or 20% of the total hog herd had to be put down to get rid of the deadly viral disease. Within seven months, 63 cities and provinces were affected by ASF which ultimately cost Vietnam VND30 trillion ($1.29 billion).
A year after the first outbreak, Vietnam began working on researching and producing the vaccine against ASF with the help of US experts. On that occasion, Deputy Minister of MARD Phung Duc Tien said, the successful production of an African swine fever vaccine is a significant development for the pig breeding sector in Vietnam.
"This is a milestone in the veterinary industry. We are confident to produce pig swine fever vaccine for domestic prevention and will also aim at export," he said.
Although harmless to humans, ASF is a highly contagious viral disease among domestic and wild pigs and can be 100% lethal to animals. Its symptoms include high fever, loss of appetite, and bleeding on the skin and internal organs.