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Tips for Successful Vaccination Programs

Successful vaccination depends on three critical factors: an effective vaccine, a functioning immune system, and administration of the vaccine before exposure to the disease. A vaccine may be ineffective if it is mishandled, if a booster is required but not given, or because of antigenic differences between the vaccine and field strains of the microorganism to which an animal is exposed. An animal’s immune system may be unresponsive to vaccination because of age; for example, a young calf’s immune system might not be fully functional at the time of vaccination or antibodies from maternal colostrum in the calf’s body can inactivate the vaccine. Inadequate nutrition may also cause an animal’s immune system to be unresponsive to vaccination. Finally, vaccine failure can occur if the animal was incubating the disease when vaccinated or if the duration of immunity after vaccination was inadequate.


Top 10 tips for effective vaccination:

  1. Read and follow label directions. If you are unsure, consult your veterinarian or call the vaccine company before using the product.
  2. Follow proper Beef Quality Assurance guidelines.
  3. Sterilize equipment between uses. Modified-live vaccines are sensitive to disinfectants, so do not use chemical disinfectants in syringes or needles for modified-live use.
  4. Refrigerate and store vaccines as directed on the label. Be sure appropriate temperatures for the vaccine are maintained when they are away from the refrigerator. The temperature of the vaccines should be at least as important as the temperature of the beverages!
  5. Keep vaccines out of sunlight, even when in the syringe.
  6. Mark syringes to avoid incorrect dosages or mixing vaccines with each other.
  7. Mix only enough vaccine to be used in one hour or less. 
  8. Choose correct needles for the job and replace often.
  9. Keep records of vaccines used.
  10. Good sanitation, management and nutritional practices are necessary to achieve the best results from vaccination programs.
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