Farmers in Finland will begin vaccinating the country’s entire mink population against coronavirus.
The country’s local authorities have approved the use of an experimental vaccine, the Finnish Food Administration announced.
Vaccines are approved only when no other vaccine is available, said Liisa Kaartinen, the agency’s chief inspector.
The grant for mink vaccination will last until the end of December, when new data must be provided, she added.
Mink are bred for their fur and pose particular risks of COVID-19 contamination.
They are also considered the only animal capable of transmitting Covid-19 to humans, threatening the future effectiveness of vaccines.
In Denmark, the country’s government ordered all mink killed after a mutated strain of the virus began affecting farms last November.
However, the Finnish Mink Farmers Association has been working with researchers at the University of Helsinki to develop a vaccine for the animals to control and prevent the spread of the virus.
“We have prepared about half a million doses, which should be enough to vaccinate all the animals twice,” said Jussi Peura, head of research for the association.
Because clinical trials have not yet been completed, the vaccine cannot be sold commercially and must follow strict procedures to be used on Finland’s 1,000 mink farms.
The breeders’ association claims that its vaccine – which will only be approved in Finland – is the first to be approved in the EU.