Ag secretary: US ’18 months or so’ away from finding bird flu vaccine

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is “18 months or so” away from identifying a vaccine for the current strain of bird flu and is developing a process to distribute it, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday.

USDA has found bird flu in 8 commercial flocks and 14 backyard flocks so far this year, affecting 530,000 poultry, according to agency data.

More than 81 million U.S. poultry and aquatic birds have been killed by avian flu across 47 states since January 2022, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Georgia is one of those states. Though the virus did not show up in our area last year, it was found in middle Georgia in the fall. Bird flu outbreak in Ga., poultry flock owners urged to keep a close eye on their birds 97.5 Glory FM | North Georgia’s Family Radio Station ( But by year’s end, the state Agriculture Department declared Georgia free of bird flu.

“We are probably 18 months or so away from being able to identify a vaccine that would be effective for this particular (avian flu) that we’re dealing with now,” Vilsack said at a Congressional hearing.

USDA plans to discuss poultry vaccinations with trading partners, amid concerns that other countries could restrict imports of vaccinated U.S. poultry, Vilsack said.

(SRN NEWS contributed to this story.)