The risk of a disease occurring and its severity are a trade-off between the challenge from the organism, the immunity of the animal and the interactions with their environment. Comprehensive preventative animal health programs aim to not only boost the flocks immunity, but also modify the environment to reduce the challenge.
Inadequate vaccine handling can not only reduce vaccine efficacy, but also cause direct harm to animals or people, create wasted vaccine and impact the environment through inappropriate disposal of vaccine and packaging.
Read the instructions before use to familiarise yourself with:
Route of administration (subcutaneous (SC) or intramuscular (IM)).
Expiry dates (record dates and batches).
Do not use vaccine if it is past its expiry date.
Check the in use shelf life from first opening.
Unless otherwise stated, store vaccine between 2-8°C at all times.
When not refrigerated, transport in chilly bins with ice packs.
Frozen vaccines should never be used.
Protect from light. Keep vaccines in the original carton when not in use.
Administer vaccines in the middle to top half of the neck.
Select the appropriate needle size and replace regularly.
Change the needle every 50 doses, and each time you change the vaccine pack.
Use a new draw-off with each new pack of vaccine.
Change needles that become contaminated, burred, bent or broken.
Agitate the pack gently and regularly (don’t shake).
Remove air from needles and guns prior to injection.
Tent the skin prior to giving the SC injection, or use a needle shroud to do this.
Pierce the skin at an angle of 45 degrees for the SC injection, 90 degrees for the IM injection.
When multiple vaccines are used:
Choose sites with different draining lymph nodes.
Space injections so the vaccines do not mix in the animal (eg 10cm between injections).
Keep injection sites consistent for each vaccine and document which vaccine was injected where in case of subsequent injection site lesions.
Clean vaccination guns following manufacturers instructions on cleaning and maintenance.
Dispose of used needles in sharps containers.
Dispose of used vaccine packs and any unused vaccine responsibly.
Store part used packs according to label instructions.
Check the recommended in-use storage life of opened vaccine packs.
Do not inject unused vaccine in the gun or draw-off tube back into the vaccine pack. This could contaminate the entire vaccine pack.
Clearly record the date the pack was broached on the packaging. Many vaccines have a space provided on the carton.
Unscrew the delivery tube from the vaccine pack.
Disinfect the stopper with a suitable antiseptic, e.g. methylated spirits.
Unless otherwise stated, place the vaccine pack in the original outer packaging and store upright in the refrigerator at 2-8°C, protected from sunlight.
Use a new draw-off tube with each new vaccine pack. Some draw off tubes can be boiled to sterilise them and then reused. Frequent attachment of the connecting tube may cause the stopper to leak and the spigot to become blunt. Therefore, the tube should not be attached more than twice.
Look out for possible post-vaccination reactions.
E.g. local tissue lumps and abscesses.
Aseptic technique will minimise risks of post – vaccination reaction.
Report suspect adverse drug events to your veterinarian.