Vaccines help protect against disease, keeping livestock healthy and productive. But to do this, they need to be working! Sounds obvious, but if not handled or administered correctly we can either destroy the vaccine or reduce the chance of it being able to work effectively.
Vaccination is an investment in your herd’s health; to ensure we maximise on that investment we need to take good care of our vaccines.
Most vaccines need to be stored in the fridge, at +2oC to +8oC until needed. Live vaccines are particularly sensitive to elevated temeratures, which can detsroy the live antigens, where inactivated vaccines are typically more sensitive to freezing, which can destroy the adjuvant.
One particularly enlightening study1 conducted between January and August 2014, monitored the temperatures every 30 minutes inside the fridges used to store vaccines on 19 farms. All the fridges were outside the required temperature range on at least 1 occasion. The minimum fridge temperature recorded was minus 12oC, putting the vaccines into deep freeze!
A number of the fridge temperatures exceeded 8oC through the summer months from May through to August; the milder external temperatures were clearly affecting the ability of these fridges to maintain a low enough temperature. They were therefore effectively cupboards, cleverly disguised as fridges lulling their owners into the false sense of security that that their vaccines were safe!
Once you appreciate the importance of keeping vaccines in the fridge and at the correct temperature, and then compare the value of items in your kitchen fridge with those in your farm medicines fridge, you may well be dashing to switch their contents.
Essentially if you are investing in vaccines you want them to work, so before you purchase your vaccine make sure that your medicines fridge is in good working order.
Handling Vaccines On-Farm
How we handle and use vaccines is equally as important as how we store them. This includes:
Vaccines are incredible medicines; they improve herd health and welfare and reduce reliance on antibiotics. They are a positive investment in your herd’s health, so ensure you maximise on that investment by taking good care of your vaccines.
1. Williams P, (2016) 29th WBC Dublin
Further information can be obtained from your vet or the product SPC or from Zoetis UK Ltd, 5th Floor, 6 St. Andrew Street, London, EC4A 3AE • www.zoetis.co.uk Customer support 0845 300 8034 • CustomerSupportUK@zoetis.com • Use medicines responsibly (www.noah.co.uk/responsible)• Produced June 2019 • MM-05729