Vaccination of Animals


The practice of vaccination to elicit an immune response has been utilised to reduce the risk of infectious disease for hundreds of years. Regarding the health of livestock, vaccination remains one of the most, if not the most, important management tools for the prevention of infectious diseases. The goal of any vaccine and vaccination protocol is to reduce the risks associated with the development of clinical disease. Various approaches can be employed to improve animal health through vaccination. Owing to the unique management situation faced by different species, each has its own difficulties associated with vaccine delivery and eliciting the proper long‐lived immunologic responses. Understanding these difficulties with vaccine delivery, the pathogens themselves and the specific species immune response to vaccine antigens is critical to further reduce the risks of clinical disease.

Key Concepts

  • Infectious diseases continue to persist in animal populations and it is critical to understand each individual species from a management standpoint as well as the pathogenesis of the infectious agent in order to illicit the specific immune response required to deliver life‐long protection from clinical disease.
  • Understanding the passive transfer of immunity from mother to offspring as well its effect on the neonate's ability to produce a proper immune response to vaccine antigens is required.
  • Anticipating stressful events in an animal's life and applying vaccination protocols before those events take place so that the animal's immune system is effectively able to recognise and combat the antigen(s) is critical to the success of the vaccine and the animal.
  • Matching economic viability and vaccination principles with vaccination protocols is required to achieve biological control of pathogens.
  • Understanding various routes of vaccine administration and the specific immune response they illicit is necessary for the success of a vaccine and vaccination protocol.
  • Understanding the dynamics of pathogen transmission and the concept of herd immunity.
  • Cooperation among research scientists, veterinarians, owners of the animals and government agencies is critical for the widespread eradication of specific diseases.

Keywords: vaccines; animals; vaccine delivery; herd immunity; infectious disease


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Further Reading

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Babiuk, Lorne A, Stokka, Gerald L, and Gaspers, James J(Feb 2018) Vaccination of Animals. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000962.pub2]