The first commercial in ovo vaccination system was launched by Embrex, now a part of Pfizer Animal Health Global Poultry, in 1992. In the ensuing two decades, in ovo vaccination has become standard practice for the U.S. and Brazilian broiler industries. Today, in ovo vaccination is used on more than 90% and 70% of U.S. and Brazilian broilers, respectively. It is estimated that more than 15 billion eggs per year are processed with in ovo equipment, but most of this occurs in large hatcheries.

In ovo vaccination will now be available to more hatcheries worldwide, with the development of a new compact device. Embrex Inovoject m is an in ovo vaccination system designed for those poultry hatcheries that do not have a large enough footprint or throughput to justify the installation of a full-size Inovoject. The new device allows these hatcheries to benefit from the improved accuracy, reliability and efficiency of in ovo vaccination, but in a more compact form.

Inovoject m is a semi-automatic device that allows trays to be both introduced and removed by an operator; an added transfer head/table can be provided at an additional charge. A working capacity of between 12,000 and 20,000 eggs per hour can make in ovo vaccination an alternative for smaller hatcheries.

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In ovo vaccination provides a number of advantages over both day-of-hatch and on-farm vaccination. Immunity against disease is generated as early as possible and with minimal interference from maternally derived antibodies. The vaccine is delivered reliably and accurately in carefully controlled, hygienic conditions. The process is less labor intensive and less prone to human error, and chick handling is minimized, reducing bird stress and improving bird health.

A wide range of vaccines against common poultry diseases are available for in ovo administration globally – although availability varies from country to country. Recent developments include the first antigen-antibody complex vaccine (Bursaplex) for in ovo use against infectious bursal disease, and a live oocyst vaccine for coccidiosis.

Full technical details for the new Inovoject m will be unveiled at the International Poultry Expo in Atlanta in January 2012.