Vaccines have made a huge contribution to improving the health, welfare and productivity of cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry. They are a vital component in preventing a range of diseases and are complementary to good hygiene and animal nutrition.
When animals are exposed to infections and recover, they develop immunity to further attacks by the same infectious pathogen. Their immune system, in effect, remembers the bacteria or virus and launches a quicker, more effective response to remove it if they are exposed again. Vaccination mimics infection but allows the animal to develop immunity without succumbing to the disease. This means the animals are more resilient to future infections, showing minor or no symptoms of illness, thus requiring fewer treatments. Vaccinations are another tool for keeping animals healthy, for the benefit of the animals, the farmer and consumers.