Pig vaccination 101
Vaccinologist Program offers basic training to improve vaccine understanding
Employees can make a big difference in herd health by properly administering vaccines. But employees don’t always know the correct protocols and why vaccinations are so important.
The new Vaccinologist Program from Zoetis will help bridge a gap in employee vaccine knowledge. The program focuses on training and educating employees (or caregivers) who administer pig vaccines.
“We need caregivers to understand why they vaccinate, the background on how these vaccines work, and to know that we place value on what they are doing,” says Micah Jansen, DVM, technical ser vices veterinarian with Zoetis, the company that developed the program.
Key to becoming a “vaccinologist” is understanding basic pig immunology, how vaccines work, how vaccines can become less effec tive and how to properly vaccinate pigs.
The training takes place at the hog farm and is facilitated by the local Zoetis representative.
The program is organized into three phases. The first focuses on education about vaccines and takes place in a classroom environment.
In the next phase, the training moves to the barn for the demonstrations on how to properly prepare and administer vaccines. Caregivers learn about calibrating syringes, proper injection sites and pig handling, recordkeeping and vaccination follow-up.
They practice needle injections on a demonstration pig made of foam. Afterwards, the pig is left on the farm for practice.
“We also developed what we call the APPLE technique to follow when vaccinating with multi-dose syringes,” Jansen says.
APPLE is an acronym for each part of the technique — Aim for the right location; Pierce the skin with the needle and insert all the way to the hub; Press on the syringe; Let go of the syringe; and Exit.
The third phase is a celebration for completion of the training and becoming a vaccinologist. Caregivers receive a special certificate and award.
In the future, Jansen hopes the program will expand. “We are looking into translation into Spanish as well as further developments in the program which would allow the vaccinologists to go a step further with more in-depth knowledge,” she adds.