Vaccination and revaccination programs, for preventive health care, should be designed to maintain the health of the animals and public health while minimizing adverse effects. Veterinarians should evaluate the risk/benefit ratio to vaccination before implementation on any individual patient or group of animals. Vaccine protocols must be developed in consideration of patient husbandry, endemic disease, geographical location, patient disease susceptibility and immune status. Other factors in the establishment of vaccine management protocols are the general health of the patient, the vaccine antigen/adjuvant combination, methods of administration and concurrent drug or chemical use.
Though vaccine products are continually improving, scientific understanding of vaccine pharmacology and immunology remains incomplete with respect to the prediction and prevention of any/all potential adverse events. Current adverse event reporting systems need significant improvement in the capture, analysis and reporting of adverse events. All adverse events (including protection failures) should be reported to the manufacturer and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help ensure the continued safety and efficacy of veterinary vaccines.
In developing a vaccine program there are multiple sources of information available from, but not necessarily limited to species and specialty groups, manufacturers, government agencies and other experts. Additional information may be available through the manufacturers’ package inserts and government agencies, in particular the USDA’s Center for Veterinary Biologics. The AVMA continues to advocate for the increased availability of animal vaccines that are safe, efficacious, scientifically based, and clinically practical, to provide practitioners with a basis for developing vaccination programs that maximize the benefits and minimize the associated risks for the patients under their care.