Farmers’ group blames black market vaccine for ASF spread

Bella Cariaso – The Philippine Star

October 20, 2023 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The spread of African swine fever in the country can be attributed to the illegal sale of 300,000 vials of ASF vaccine to hog raisers, an official of the farmers’ group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) said.

SINAG chairman Rosendo So yesterday said he already wrote to Senators Cynthia Villar and Imee Marcos, urging them to investigate the release of ASF vaccines in the market even when the Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve the certificate of product registration in the country.

The 300,000 vials of ASF vaccine reportedly came from Vietnam.

“We are afraid that vaccines are causing the spread (of ASF) as we received reports that the 300,000 vials which arrived in the country are being sold in the market. This should be checked as this will further cause the spread of ASF. We want this investigated,” So told The STAR in an interview.

Aside from seeking the assistance of Villar and Marcos, So also wrote to Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin and Agriculture Undersecretary Deogracias Victor Savellano to point out that the proliferation of unauthorized ASF vaccines in the market creates doubt on the impartiality of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).

“There are reports and eyewitness accounts that the said ASF vaccines currently on trial are now being sold commercially and some of our colleagues have tried it to horrendous results,” So said in his letter.

He also said that hog raisers cannot share the results on the use of the ASF vaccine due to the non-disclosure agreement with the importer.

“We also heard of vaccine shredding seen in some BAI farms which can be a cause for alarm since it may mutate to a more virulent form,” So added.

Outbreaks of ASF were reported for the past weeks in Oriental Mindoro, Ilocos Sur and Nueva Vizcaya provinces, forcing the concerned local government units there to declare a state of calamity in their jurisdictions.

BAI Assistant Director Arlene Vytiaco earlier said the agency targets to import 600,000 doses of ASF vaccines this year once the FDA issues the certificate of product registration to address the outbreak of the disease.

Vytiaco said that the field trial for the AVAC ASF live vaccine was conducted in six farms in Luzon.


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