Importance of Vaccination in Dairy Animals: Its Pros, Cons, And Myths

Vaccination in Dairy Animals

The principle of vaccination has been established for over 200 years. Since those early days, enormous strides have been made in the development of vaccines, which have helped to prevent and, in some cases, eliminate many diseases in humans, farm animals and the family pet.

National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP) is a flagship scheme launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister in September, 2019 for control of Foot & Mouth Disease and Brucellosis by vaccinating 100% cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population for FMD and 100% bovine female calves of 4-8 months of age for brucellosis (2019-20 to 2023-24).

What is vaccination?

Vaccination is a simple, safe, and successful method of protecting animals against potentially fatal diseases before they come into contact with them. Vaccines instruct the immune system to produce antibodies in the same way as it does when expose to a disease. Vaccines, on the other hand, do not cause sickness or put animals at danger since they include only destroyed or weakened versions of pathogens such as viruses or bacteria. It strengthens the immune system of animals by using their defense mechanisms to generate resistance to certain illnesses.

How does vaccination work?

The immune system is a defensive mechanism built by the animal body to resist invading infections that might make the animal unwell. A strong immune system fights against intruders. The immune system is made up of several sorts of cells. Vaccination trains the body to detect new infections. It boosts the body's production of antibodies against pathogen antigens. It also trains immune cells to recognise the antigens that cause infection. This enables a quicker reaction to the disease in the future. Vaccines operate by exposing animals to a disease in a safe form. As a result, the next time the animal is exposed to that germ, the antibodies destroy it and the animal does not become ill.                    


  • Vaccines aid in the prevention of hazardous illnesses that have killed and continue to kill countless people.

  • The vast majority of evidence indicates that immunizations are safe.

  • Vaccines do more than only protect animals. They safeguard others around them, particularly those who are unable to get vaccinated.

  • Vaccines not only protect pregnant animals but also confer protection to their growing youngster. During the gestation stage, the calf need protection from dangerous infections, and immunizations are an important component of that. Vaccinations after pregnancy also help safeguard the child.


  • The majority of vaccination adverse effects are minor. Some people will have no side effects at all, but vaccinations, like any drug, can produce moderate side effects including a low-grade temperature or soreness or redness at the injection site. Mild responses resolve on their own after a few days.

  • Each vaccination is made up of distinct components, and each has a particular effect. Certain immunizations caused allergic responses in animals.

  • Discomfort, redness, or swelling at the injection site, joint pain at the injection site, muscular weakness, low-grade to high fever, sleep difficulties, weariness, hearing or vision loss, seizures are all possible side effects.

  • Having a weakened or suppressed immune system, a history of vaccine responses, or being unwell at the time of vaccination can all lead to significant complications.

Severe or life-threatening adverse effects or reactions to immunizations are uncommon. Indeed, most people are at a higher risk of contracting illnesses if they are not immunized.

Many misunderstandings about vaccines. There are myths and misleading statements that spread on the internet and social media about vaccines.

  • Vaccines do NOT cause autism.

  • Vaccines do NOT contain toxins that will harm.

  • Vaccines do NOT cause the diseases they are meant to prevent.

  • Vaccine do not overload or weaken the immune system – it's safe to give infants several vaccines at a time and this reduces the amount of injections they need.

Vaccination schedule of dairy animals

 Sl. No

Name of Disease

Age at first dose

Booster dose

Subsequent dose


Foot and Mouth
Disease (FMD)

4 months and  above

1 month after first dose

Six monthly


Septicaemia (HS)

6 months and  above


Annually in endemic areas.


Black Quarter (BQ)

6 months and  above


Annually in endemic areas.



4-8 months of age
(Only female calves)


Once in a lifetime



3 months of age and above


Once in a lifetime. Only required for crossbred and exotic cattle.



4 months and  above


Annually in endemic areas.



3 months and  above

1 month after first dose

Six monthly (vaccine presently not produced in India)


Rabies (Post bite therapy only)

Immediately after suspected bite.

4th day

7,14,28 and 90 (optional) days after first dose.

Points to be noted

  • Animals should be in good health at the time of vaccination. Do not vaccinate animals which are already in stress (Like bad weather, Scarcity of fodder & water, Disease outbreaks, after transportation etc.)

  • Try to deworm animals & remove ecto-parasites one to two weeks prior to vaccination.

  • Strictly follow vaccination schedule after consultation with veterinary experts.

  • Keep records of vaccination for name of vaccine manufacturing company, Batch number, Expiry date, Dose & route of vaccine.

  • Maintain cold chain for vaccines which may have to keep for 2-8 ºC temperature.

  • Create stress free environment for animals after vaccination.

Dr. Mayank Goswami,

Assistant professor,

Ph : +918460192956, Email adders: mayank556611@gmail.com

Noble Polytechnic in Animal Husbandry, Kamdhenu University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat

Dr. N. N. Parmar

Assistant professor,

Ph : +917043169203, Email adders: nilamparmar.225@gmail.com

Noble Polytechnic in Animal Husbandry, Kamdhenu University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat

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