A vaccine program is only as effective as your dairy's storage and handling protocols. The warm outdoor temperatures serve as a good reminder to brush up on vaccine storage and handling. "Cool is the rule for a successful vaccine program, and it starts with proper storage and handling," advised Greg Edwards, DVM, Zoetis Dairy Technical Services.
Poor handling and storage can reduce vaccine potency and effectiveness. Research trials and data showing product efficacy are based on storage temperatures indicated on the label. "Vaccines are sensitive. You can't expect vaccines to perform at their highest level of protection if you don't store and handle them properly," Dr. Edwards explained.
He offered these tips for warm-weather vaccine storage and handling:
- Always read and follow label instructions.
- Labels clearly indicate the proper procedures to yield the best outcome from a vaccine.
- Keep vaccines cool and out of direct sunlight.
- Always store vaccines according to the label.
- Make sure vaccines are cold when delivered and refrigerate immediately.
- Refrigerate vaccines between 35°F to 45°F.
- Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to monitor temperature.
- Train employees about proper storage and handling.
- Instruct employees to take only the amount of vaccine needed and to keep the rest refrigerated.
- Remind employees that once they open vaccine bottles, the clock starts ticking. Each vaccine has a specific time limit for use. For example, modified-live vaccines, such as
Bovi-Shield GOLD FP® 5 L5 HB, must be used within one hour of being mixed.
- Consult with your herd veterinarian to develop and review herd vaccination protocols.
- Involve your veterinarian as much as possible. Your veterinarian is most familiar with diseases unique to your operation and is the most knowledgeable when it comes to vaccine selection.