One Health is about raising awareness of the challenge that is antibiotic resistance. This is where infectious bacteria develop resistance and the antibiotics we use to treat them are no longer effective. The misuse and overuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals is a key driver of resistance development.
Farmers have a duty to use antibiotics responsibly, as using them in animals can potentially make them less effective in humans. We need to reduce our use of antibiotics on Irish farms through better management and husbandry.
Using vaccines will reduce the need to use antibiotics by reducing the risk of disease outbreaks
Vaccination offers a way of improving animal health by stimulating or improving immunity.
When we look at infectious disease on our farms, it is always a battle between maximising immunity and minimising the amount of infection. Using vaccines will reduce the need to use antibiotics by reducing the risk of disease outbreaks.
Vaccines work by stimulating the immune system to improve immunity against the agent in the vaccine.
This creates an immunological memory of the bug or pathogen. When the animal is then exposed to this bug or pathogen on-farm, they can mount a better immune response.
However, vaccines aren’t a cure-all. They are only part of the solution to the health challenge on our farms.
In some ways, it is about carrying out a cost-benefit analysis, as a treatment for a sick animal also costs money
Vaccines cost money, so we must ensure there is a good return on investment from their use. In some ways, it is about carrying out a cost-benefit analysis, as a treatment for a sick animal also costs money.
There is also the underlying cost of poor performance and ill thrift in the future, as a result of the animal being sick. Used correctly, vaccines are like insurance policies – without them, the risk of disease can be much greater.
Here are some key points we must remember when using vaccines:
Prevention is always better than cure. It’s far more cost effective to spend money on an effective vaccination programme rather than incurring the cost of treating sick animals and the associated losses in terms of vet bills and reduced animal performance.