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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Lawmaker welcomes anti-ASF vax rollout

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Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte welcomed the expected rollout of the vaccine against African Swine Fever (ASF) in a month or two.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier announced that the vaccination program against ASF will soon be launched to eradicate the disease that has decimated the hog population and caused a spike in the price of pork.

Villafuerte also renewed his appeal to the Department of Agriculture to consider giving free shots to the livestock of backyard growers.

Villafuerte at the same enjoined the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to speed up its registration process for the chosen imported vaccine to make sure that the Technical Working Group (TWG) against the ASF is ready and able to carry out an inoculation drive nationwide in June or July, as had been announced by the President.

“Now that President Marcos himself has announced that the vaccine rollout is to take place this June or July, it behooves the FDA to pull out all the stops in its registration of the imported vaccine earlier endorsed by the BAI (Bureau of Animal Industry), in time for the TWG to roll out its mass inoculation drive for local hogs in a month or two—based on our Chief Executive’s timeline,” Villafuerte said.

“It would be a serious setback for the government-hoped recovery of the ASF-plagued hog industry if the mass vaccination program is not able to proceed as set by the President just because FDA officials had opted to sit on their hands instead of giving a timely go-ahead to the registration of the needed vaccine for the rollout,” he said.

“There is no reason for FDA officials to take their own sweet time in accrediting the BAI-endorsed imported vaccine from Vietnam and allowing its commercial use, given that they had been fast enough in registering the imported vaccines that were used in our anti-Covid drive at the height of the pandemic,” he added.

Earlier, the FDA confirmed that the Bureau of Animal Industry had applied for certification of the Avac vaccine against ASF that is produced in Vietnam.

Villafuerte expressed the hope that the FDA has completed, or is about to finish, the registration process for accrediting the soon-to-be-available vaccine from Vietnam and clearing its commercial use in the country.

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