Store and manage pig vaccines

How you store and manage your vaccines is just as important to obtain maximum disease protection.

Storage

Each vaccine has specific storage conditions. Most vaccines must be stored in a refrigerator where they are kept cold but not subject to freezing and thawing. Freezing may reduce the potency of some vaccines and may cause local reactions at the injection site.

Any vaccines that specify alternative storage conditions should be kept separately, always according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s recommended that there is  a designated competent individual responsible for the handling and storage of vaccines.

Management

Vaccines can be expensive - only purchase and store the quantity of vaccines that you need, allowing for some waste and accidents.

Some herd health situations may suit use of some vaccines at the same time each year, which can help keep vaccinations up-to-date and used within expiry date.

Use of a written vaccination schedule can aid management of vaccination program and make sure everyone in the business is aware of when animals need to be checked and vaccines administered.

The documented Herd Health plan supported by treatment records would include:

  • the vaccines given
  • when they were administered
  • the age groups or sexes they were given to
  • the dosage
  • who carried out the vaccinations
  • when booster shots should be given, if required.

Check stores of vaccines regularly to ensure that each vaccine remains within its expiry date. Vaccines are biological products and will slowly lose their potency, even when stored under ideal conditions. The manufacturer has determined the expiry date for each batch of vaccine and provided it is stored correctly, it will retain its full potency up to the date shown. On larger units a monthly stock take will assist in products being used in a timely manner and not exceeding the expiry date.

Only vaccines registered for use in Australia must be kept and given to animals. Discuss other options for herd health with your veterinarian.

To achieve certification in Australian Pork Industry Quality Assurance Program (APIQ), you need a herd health plan and evidence that vaccines are stored according to manufacturer’s recommendations.