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ASF vaccine subsidy program for hog farmers not yet funded

THE Department of Agriculture said it is still looking for funding sources for the program to subsidize vaccines for African Swine Fever (ASF).

“We are discussing this with the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) the possibilities to subsidize but we cannot commit as to whether there will be subsidies bago lumabas ang presyo (before knowing what the price will be),” Agriculture Assistant Secretary Rex C. Estoperez told reporters on Monday.

Hog industry groups earlier called on the government to provide subsidies for the ASF vaccines, after the industry endured a severe downturn since the outbreak began in 2019.

The BAI has said that it has completed the clinical trials for a ASF vaccine manufactured in Vietnam and known as AVAC ASF LIVE.

The AVAC vaccine is the third vaccine to undergo clinical trials. The manufacturer is ready to supply 600,000 doses.

Mr. Estoperez said that the price has not yet been set  as the proposed vaccine is still being assessed by the Food and Drug Administration pending the issuance of a certificate of product registration.

“For now, wala pa tayong alam kung saan ang (we don’t know where the) funds will come from, but we are looking at whether there are excess funds in our other programs,” he said.

Mr. Estoperez said that the agency may seek help from legislators and the Department of Budget and Management.

As of June 1, 15 provinces have active ASF cases, according to the BAI. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera

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