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Drugs - Dosages/Uses
Vaccines and vaccinations
By Homer K. Caley, D.V.M
Oct 28, 2002, 10:02am
Vaccines and Vaccinations
Homer K. Caley, D.V.M
Former Extension State Leader
Veterinary Medicine
Kansas State University
Agricultural Experiment Station and
Cooperative Extension Service

Product approval is a long and costly procedure for a commercial company.
The expense of development
drives the prices high, yet efficacy and safety under actual use are
extremely important to the producer or
consumer. Some vaccines may not stay on the market long enough to recover
total cost. Following vaccination, disease outbreaks may occur that are
sometimes more severe than actual field exposure, yet there are so many
stresses on cattle the specific cause may not be identified. This poses the
question: Should you use all the recommended vaccines on all the animals or
does that create more problems than it
prevents? Are we using more vaccines than we need? It seems that most of
our research is centered on new products. Are we as an industry working on
the wrong end of the problem? Should our efforts be directed toward finding
out why animals do not get sick? Could research of this type provide us
with information to prevent more disease problems instead of treating
animals after they get sick? Would it be possible to help solve the
problems of respiratory disease and many other diseases by identifying the
reason for an animal staying healthy? Other animals raised the same way may
get sick and die. Could this information reduce the need for expensive
treatments and death losses? The use of vaccines and drugs continues to
increase each year. Some may be of questionable value as products come and
go. The real value of a product is determined by its continual use for a
number of years. Should ranchers manage their cow herds so they can
vaccinate calves at least 3 weeks ahead of weaning? This does reduce health
problems, but does it pay? Before you start vaccinating, think. Are you
giving your animals more vaccinations than they need?
Precautions for handling vaccines and vaccinations
. Vaccines should never be mixed with other vaccines unless indicated on the
. Store vaccines at the recommended temperature.
. Change vaccination needles frequently (after 10 to 15 head).
. Do not use a chemical disinfectant on vaccination equipment unless it is
rinsed well before use. If a
needle contacts any foreign material, manure, etc., the needle should be
. Keep good records on all products used and the animal recipients. Record
the company name,
expiration date, manufacturer's serial number, date used.
. Vaccines may be killed, modified live or a combination of both. Follow the
. Do not try to vaccinate with a bent or burred needle.
. Keep medication at the work area for the treatment of anaphylactic shock
during vaccination or
. Use the tenting procedure, pulling the hide up before injecting when
indicated; however, experienced
operators can inject below the skin without any problem.
. Choose a suitable place for either subcutaneous or in-the-muscle
injections. For most vaccinations, the neck is preferred.
. Good clean, soapy water is an excellent cleaning agent, but instruments
should be rinsed well before use.
. For vaccination in the muscle, be sure the needle is long enough to
prevent leakage from the injection
. Do not place vaccinations too close to each other.
. Do not be the first to use a new product. If it is good, it will be
. Hot water (first out of the tap in the morning) is normally an excellent
rinse solution.
. Speed should not be your only concern when vaccinating. If you are not
willing to do a good job,
get someone else.
. Do not use an outdated product.
. Do not prepare vaccine for injection that cannot be used in a reasonable
time (1 hour is reasonable).
Avoid sunlight if possible.
. Ice packs and cooler should be used when transporting vaccine during hot
. Keep injection equipment adjusted and repaired as this will prevent
leakage and plunger bypass.
. Avoid freezing diluted vaccine.
. Use a small gauge needle that you are comfortable with. A 14- to 16-
gauge, 1-inch long needle should
be used if possible.
. Use only sterile equipment to fill the injection equipment. Only a
transfer needle should be used for
mixing modified live vaccine.
. Injection equipment should be clean at all times. If contamination does
occur, it should be cleaned and
the needle changed.
. Place your equipment on a clean surface when you lay it down. Hanging
equipment should be positioned
so that the needle does not touch a contaminated surface.
. Unused newspapers, along with other disposable paper products, are
adequate for covering the
work area.
. Clean paper or cloth towels should be available at all times.
. If you have a mishap with your vaccine and lose a dose, go to another site
and vaccinate again. Prevent
vaccine waste when possible.

Brand names appearing in this publication are for identification purposes
only. No endorsement is intended,
nor is criticism implied of others not mentioned.
Publications from Kansas State University are available on the World Wide
Web at:
Contents of this publication may be freely reproduced for educational
purposes. All other rights reserved. In each case, credit
Homer K. Caley, Vaccines and Vaccinations, Kansas State University, November
Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative
Extension Service
L-872 November 1992
It is the policy of Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station
and Cooperative Extension Service that all persons shall have equal
and access to its educational programs, services, activities, and materials
without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age or
Kansas State University is an equal opportunity organization. Issued in
furtherance of Cooperative Extension Work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914,
amended. Kansas State University, County Extension Councils, Extension
Districts, and United States Department of Agriculture Cooperating, Marc A.
Johnson, Director.


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