Broached vials of a popular calf scour vaccine can now be used for up to 28 days after opening the immediate packaging thanks to a new license.
Bovilis Rotavec Corona is used for the active immunisation of pregnant cows and heifers, 12-3 weeks pre-calving, to raise antibodies against rotavirus, coronavirus and E. coli.
Calves gain protection by drinking the fortified colostrum from their vaccinated mothers.
The product's shelf-life extension will mean greater usage flexibility for farmers, according to MSD Animal Health.
On the old license, the vaccine needed to be used within eight hours of opening.
"This will be a significant benefit-led change for suckler beef and dairy producers," said Dr Kat Baxter-Smith, MSD Animal Health ruminant veterinary adviser.
“For all-year-round calving dairy herds, for example – that may want to vaccinate successive pregnant dams on different days – it will make an opened bottle of vaccine last much longer.
"Those running batch calving herds with a long calving period should also benefit. We hope this will help reduce unnecessary wastage of the vaccine on farm and save farmers money."
MSD says it will still be crucial to store the vaccine properly – upright and refrigerated (at 2-8°C) before and after broaching, and after first use.
A broached vial will be able to be used once more during the next 28 days after the first vaccination event and then discarded.
Vaccination equipment such as needles and syringes should be sterilized, the firm explains, and use of a multi-dose syringe to minimise vaccine contamination and excessive broaching is recommended.
MSD adds that vaccine vials should still be shaken well before use, and the injection should be made through an area of clean, dry skin with precautions taken against contamination.