Training key to proper poultry vaccine administration

A properly trained and engaged workforce plays a crucial role in maintaining poultry health, especially when it comes to vaccine administration and handling.

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Vet doctor examining chicken. Vet concept
Vet doctor examining chicken. Vet concept
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A properly trained and engaged workforce plays a crucial role in maintaining poultry health, especially when it comes to vaccine administration and handling.

Labor shortages and workforce turnover are a major challenge for the poultry industry, a challenge that intensified during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“Vaccinating chickens is absolutely skilled labor so a lack of retention of skilled labor can cause some problems. Proper training and continual labor of labor in the handling and administration can significantly affect the efficacy of whatever vaccine is being administered,” explained Kelly Garris, poultry production technical advisor, Elanco.

“Technology is a great thing, but when it comes to vaccinating chickens, good skilled labor is the one thing that’s going to get us where we want to go.”

A knowledgeable staff prevents costly mistakes

Familiarity with manufacturer guidelines is key to poultry vaccine efficacy. 

Workers need to be knowledgeable about any handling requirements from the time a vaccine leaves a manufacturer to the time it is administered.

For example, Garris recently showed up at a poultry house to administer vaccines and found that the contents of the vaccine had reached 130℉ because of equipment failure. If it wasn’t caught, this could have been a costly mistake with a significant negative impact on poultry health and welfare.

“It’s important that the people responsible for these processes understand the details of what’s recommended, as well as the ramifications if something is out of compliance and what to do at that point,” Garris said.

“That’s where the failures happen.”

The importance of SOPs

In addition to following all manufacturer guidelines, standard operating procedures (SOPs) can help educate the workforce about the proper procedures to follow when handling or administering poultry vaccines.

“I think part of that is having some outlines in place particularly on the handling side as we think about particularly individually applied vaccines,” Dr. Chase Miller, a poultry technical veterinarian, Elanco, added.

“The handling part is the place where you can mess yourself up in a hurry because you’re dealing with high volumes of vaccines. Whereas with your administration, you might have more frequent errors, but it’s not going to impact the flock as much.”

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