Finnish farmers will start vaccinating the country’s entire mink population against the coronavirus.
The country’s local authorities have given permission for an experimental vaccine to be used, the Finnish Food Authority announced.
Vaccines will only be authorized when no other vaccine is available, said Liisa Kaartinen, the authority’s chief inspector.
The mink vaccination grant will last until the end of December, when new data will need to be provided, he added.
Minks are raised for their fur and pose particular risks of COVID-19 contamination.
It is also considered to be the only animal capable of transmitting Covid-19 to humans, which threatens the future effectiveness of vaccines.
In Denmark, the country’s government ordered the removal of all minks after a mutated strain of the virus began to affect farms last November.
But the Finnish Mink Breeders Association has been working with researchers at the University of Helsinki to develop a vaccine for animals to control and prevent the spread of the virus.
“We have prepared around half a million doses, which should be enough to vaccinate all the animals twice,” said Jussi Peura, head of research for the association.
As clinical trials have not yet been completed, the vaccine cannot be commercially distributed and must be used according to strict procedures in Finland’s 1,000 mink farms. So far no new cases of COVID-19 have been identified among minks in the country.
the complaints from breeders’ associations that its vaccine, which will only be licensed in Finland, is the first to be approved in the EU.