Immune Ready is a guideline for the care of sale cattle.
This protects cattle in the preparation, transport and arrival post sale.


Holistic vaccination programs extend beyond simply administering a vaccine. No vaccine is 100% effective but correct vaccine handling, storage, administration technique and timing of vaccination will help ensure cattle are fully immunised. Inappropriate vaccine handling can not only reduce vaccine efficacy, but also cause direct harm to animals or people.

Before Vaccination

  • Always become familiar with vaccine labels before vaccination
  • Unless otherwise stated, livestock vaccines must be stored at 2-8°C
  • Ultraviolet light accelerates the degradation of vaccines, keep livestock vaccines in the original carton when not in use
  • Each farm should have a herd health program that ensures all animals are immunised at the correct time and avoids the administration of excessive numbers of products concurrently
  • Use a shrouded vaccine applicator for best vaccine placement and increased user safety
  • Calibrate vaccine applicators before use with a measuring flask or syringe
  • Inspect equipment prior to use to ensure it is clean
  • Inspect facilities like gates, head bails, levers and latches to make sure you can safely vaccinate cattle
  • Check the vaccine is within its expiry date and its in-use life (if opened). Vaccines that are expired or have exceeded their in-use life should be discarded
  • Ensure there is sufficient needles of the appropriate size and disposable gloves.
  • Spare ear tags and tag applicator – can’t record animals if they have insufficient ID

During Vaccination

  • Unless otherwise stated, keep vaccines at 2-8°C when in the field.
  • Use insulated bags/cooler with ice packs during transport to the yards or a car fridge
  • Ice packs should be chilled in the freezer for at least 24 hours before use
  • Be careful not to freeze vaccines in cooler with ice packs (this is more likely to happen if the vaccine is removed from its packaging while in the cooler). Avoid placing open packs of vaccine directly against ice bricks
  • Use vaccine pouches during use to slow the heating of vaccine and protect it from light
  • Place vaccines in a cooler when not in use whilst in the yards
  • Avoid vaccination when animals are wet and do not administer vaccine through visibly contaminated skin. Also avoid vaccination during hot weather.
  • Change the needle, draw-off tube and vaccinator if they become contaminated


  • Select the appropriate needle size based on the site of injection and the age and condition of the animal
  • Use a new needle at the start of each vaccination session
  • Never straighten or reuse a damaged needle
  • Change needles every 50-100 animals (or more frequently), or sooner if it is contaminated, bent, burred or blunted
  • Disinfect stoppers with an appropriate disinfectant before perforation, e.g. methylated spirits
  • Use a new draw-off tube with each new vaccine pack. Some draw off tubes can be boiled to sterilise them and then reused. Frequent attachment of the draw off tube may cause the stopper to leak.
  • Agitate vaccine packs before use and regularly when in use (e.g. every race of animals)

Do not:

  • Contaminate vaccine pack stoppers before perforating them (e.g. dirty hands)
  • Perforate vaccine pack bungs with used needles, including the needle on the vaccinator
  • Inject unused vaccine in the vaccinator or draw-off tube back into the vaccine pack
  • Attempt to sterilise needles with chemicals (e.g. methylated spirits) during use
  • Administer the correct dose to the correct site:
    • Administer vaccines in the side of the neck unless stated otherwise
  • When multiple vaccines are used:
    • Choose sites on opposite sides of the neck where possible
    • If a close injection site is unavoidable, ensure sites are spaced by at least 10cm
    • Never mix different vaccines in the same container (or vaccines with other products) unless specifically stated on the vaccine label
  • Ensure animals are adequately restrained to facilitate correct placement of injections
  • Keep a record of the batch number and expiry date with the details of which animals were treated for your records

After Vaccination

Vaccine applicators containing unused vaccine and vaccine residue are susceptible to bacterial overgrowth and contamination. Vaccine applicator seals can also become damaged, rendering them difficult to use resulting in inaccurate dosing.

  • Where available, follow manufacturer instructions on applicator cleaning
    and maintenance
  • Vaccine applicators should be dismantled, cleaned and rinsed with clean water as soon as possible after use
  • Use mild dishwashing liquid to clean equipment, especially after using oilbased vaccines, and rinse thoroughly as detergent residues may interfere with vaccines
  • Discard the draw-off tube and use a new draw-off tube with each new vaccine pack. Some vaccines state that draw-off tubes can be boiled to sterilise them and then be reused
  • Boiled vaccine applicators and tubes must be allowed to cool to room temperature before use
  • Lubricate vaccine applicators after cleaning as required according to the applicator manufacturer’s instructions
  • Veterinarians and farmers should dispose of needles in designated and appropriately labeled medical waste containers. These containers should
    be disposed of appropriately

Occasionally, reactions post-vaccination can occur. Always seek veterinary advice and contact the manufacturer in the event of adverse outcomes. The contact details of the vaccine manufacturer, including a phone number are located on the label of the product.