Vaccines play an excellent role in disease prevention and reducing losses. They can however come as a large up-front cost, so it is important to correctly store and handle vaccines so that they remain effective. Here are some reminders for correct vaccine handling.
- When collecting the vaccine from your practice, or receiving it on farm, it is important to transport it in a cool bag or box straight into a fridge.
- Make sure the farm fridge is working. If necessary, make space in the house fridge as you know that works.
- Best to not keep the vaccine in the door shelves as the temperature here fluctuates as the door regularly opens and shuts.
- Use the vaccine before the expiry date, as use after this will not have guaranteed effectiveness.
- Check the datasheet for dose of vaccine to give each animal. You need the correct dose for it to be effective.
- Check the datasheet for the location of where the vaccine should be given. Giving it in a different place or under the skin versus in the muscle could lead to abscess formation, delay in vaccine immunity or incomplete immune response.
- Know which animals need vaccinating and which animals won’t respond to a vaccine and therefore are best left out. Animals who are currently under stress the day of vaccination will not mount the desired immune response; these include those who are ill, in poor condition, or are under other treatment.
- Timing of vaccination. Check the datasheet or discuss with your vet when the vaccine should be given.
- Only buy enough doses for the number of animals you want to vaccinate at that time. Many vaccines once opened have to be used on that day as they do not contain preservatives.
- Know the vaccine protocol. This involves knowing if a second dose is required as a primary course, when to give it, and when to give a booster if needed. Correctly following the protocol means the desired immune response should be mounted.
- If spending the day vaccinating, be sure to have a cool box to store the vaccines rather than letting them be sun-soaked in the truck!
Following these rules will help keep disease off farm and your animals protected. As always, Westpoint Farm Vets are available to help with any questions about vaccine use.