A party list MP on Wednesday urged the government to prioritize vaccinating local pigs against African swine fever (ASF), which has continued to ravage local stocks since its resurgence in 2018.
Rep. on the AGRI party list. Wilbert T. Lee issued the statement as local agricultural product KPP Powers Commodities is currently testing for safety and efficacy using the AVAC ASF live vaccine developed by AVAC Vietnam Co. LLC in four farms of the country.
He said the clinical trials, which are expected to be completed in April, are being overseen by the Bureau of Animal Production.
“We are calling our pig breeders. Now that we expect an ASF vaccine to be available, I hope the government will take immediate action to get it and distribute it to our stakeholders as soon as possible,” Li said.
Referring to recent reports, Li said the Vietnamese government will soon begin nationwide distribution of the ASF AVAC vaccine after highly favorable results from more than 600,000 doses administered in field trials since July 2022.
“A nationwide vaccination campaign will help our pig farmers fight the spread of ASF. Just as we have successfully responded to Covid-19 with vaccination, we believe this is also an effective solution for ASF,” Li said.
The MP stressed the urgency of ASF vaccination, saying that ASF had caused a supply shortage, leading to a sharp rise in the price of pork. This, in turn, affects inflation, he added.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) recently reported that as of February 2, active cases of ASF have been reported in 75 barangays in 42 municipalities in 12 provinces in seven regions. These provinces include Cagayan, Aurora, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Camarines Sur, Iloilo. , Northern Samar, Zamboanga del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.
The DA also said that the cumulative number of affected areas since the outbreak of ASF in the country in 2019 to the present has reached 4,308 barangays in 788 municipalities in 59 provinces in 15 regions.
Since the first outbreak of the virus in September 2019 and by June 2021, the total pig population in the Philippines has already halved to 6.6 million pigs from 13 million before ASF.