Last week, I attended the launch of a new intranasal vaccine for RSV and PI3 by MSD Ireland.

At the event, Prof Hans-Joachim Schuberth, professor for immunology at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover, Germany, and who leads the unit dealing with veterinary immunology, spoke on the importance of looking after the young calf and helping its immune system to develop.


The young calf is born without immunity and even the gut of the newborn is not fully developed.

He stressed colostrum delivery is still our greatest challenge to get right in the newborn.

He also stressed that hygiene is also critical when handling and storing colostrum.

While in Kilkenny, I got to sit down with Fergal Morris, a vet, but also managing director of MSD in Ireland.

I asked him about some of the topics he raised in his presentation about global trends in meat consumption, greenhouse gases and AMR.

The interesting figures for me to reflect on from the meeting were that we vaccinate only about 20% (<2 years of age) of our youngstock against pneumonia in Ireland.

It is the second-biggest killer of calves and across our cattle industry and where we use most of our antibiotics.

Moving forward, we need to improve management and husbandry, but more farmers need to consider pneumonia vaccination in their herd health strategies and plans.