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South Central: Vaccine management is critical for maximum success

Jason Banta for Progressive Cattle Published on 24 March 2021

When it comes to vaccine management, it is critical to store, handle and administer vaccines properly to maximize their chance to work and stimulate an immune response for the animal.

It only takes a few minutes to read the label to make sure the proper guidelines for the product are being followed. Sometimes the label on the bottle or box can be hard to read due to size; in these situations, consider going to the manufacturer’s website or an online animal health supply company to get a link to a label that is bigger and easier to read.

Always make sure the vaccine remains at the proper temperature provided on the label and that it is protected from sunlight until it is administered. For most vaccines, this means storing them at 35ºF to 45ºF. For some vaccines, freezing can be just as detrimental as the vaccine getting too warm. If purchasing vaccines locally, use an ice chest to transport them home. If vaccines are ordered online, make sure they arrive in appropriate conditions; if not, contact the seller and see about returning them.

Precipitation map

Several extension groups around the country have looked at temperature ranges in refrigerators where vaccine is stored; unfortunately, these studies have demonstrated that temperatures in the refrigerator are often outside the target range. Some ranchers have started placing inexpensive thermometers or weather stations that record minimum and maximum temperatures in their refrigerators to monitor vaccines. Other ranchers have moved vaccines from refrigerators in the garage or barn to a refrigerator in the house or an air-conditioned office.

Vaccines can be given with single-dose plastic syringe or a multidose repeating syringe. While they may cost more initially, repeating syringes can make the job much easier and faster. Additionally, when taken care of, a good repeating syringe can last a lifetime. Repeating syringes with hose tubing should not be used for giving vaccines; instead, use a barrel-style repeating syringe or one where the bottle attaches to the syringe. Homemade or purchased vaccine coolers can be used to protect vaccines and syringes containing vaccines while cattle are being worked. Homemade coolers can be made by drilling 1.5-inch holes into the lid or side of a cooler. A plastic kitchen tailpiece 6 inches long by 1.5 inches wide is placed into the hole to serve as a holder for the barrel-style, repeating syringe. end mark

Jason Banta
  • Jason Banta

  • Associate Professor and Extension Beef Cattle Specialist
  • Texas A&M University
  • Email Jason Banta