Handling vaccines correctly is important because they are sensitive to temperature and light. Freezing, overheating or prolonged exposure to sunlight will kill vaccines.

If you are distributing vaccines between September and March, make sure the vaccines are kept on ice and use an esky when marking or weaning cattle.

Given the different vaccination schedules, it’s important to read the label and information sheet provided with the vaccine before use. Check the appropriate timing between shots (if multiple shots are required), the dose and method of administration.

Most vaccines are given as a subcutaneous injection (under the skin), but this does vary. Ultravac® Scourshield®, a scours vaccine in cattle, is given intramuscularly.

Tips for storing vaccines

The length of time vaccines can be stored depends on sterility to reduce the subsequent growth of organisms in the vaccine.

Open the sealed tube and fix it carefully to the pack and gun to reduce the opportunity for contamination. If the vaccine is then stored as this closed unit, there is likely to be little chance of growth of organisms.

However, if you are not careful when setting up the equipment then the vaccine may become contaminated, and it will need to be discarded within a short period of opening.

Manufacturers provide recommendations for how long opened vaccines can be stored.

Complete the below quiz to continue