Vaccination Equipment, Status and Future Expectations

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Since hatchery vaccination started in the third quarter of 20th Century, with the first spray vaccines against IB and Coccidiosis, the evolution of the vaccination equipment has experimented three major milestones. The first one occurred in the ‘80s when mainly MD vaccination in the hatchery promoted the development and implementation of subcutaneous vaccination with semi automatic machines. This vaccination technique rapidly proved to be superior in efficacy and convenience than old manual subcutaneous syringes.

It was not until the ’90 that the first commercial In-Ovo machine was available in the market, representing the second important boom of hatchery vaccination. The migration from subcutaneous application to In-Ovo application started then and still nowadays we can see the continuation of this trend. The benefits of In-Ovo vaccination probed to be quite remarkable comparing with traditional vaccination methods. However, the lack of vaccines compatible with the In-Ovo route slowed down the process. For almost 15 years there was only one type of vaccines ready to be administered by In-Ovo route (MD vaccines). In any case, still we can see a strong geographical impact on the market penetration of this vaccination technique, mainly driven by two factors: cost of human labour and disease pressure. Hence, areas with MD pressure and high cost of labour have rapidly implemented In-Ovo vaccination, like North America, South of Europe and Japan. Other areas, not so labour expensive like South America and Eastern Europe, have also adopted this technology but in this case driven also by operational and logistical reasons (large productions, operational costs, competition pressure, etc.).

The evolution of spray vaccination equipment and practices in the last decades has been parallel to the evolution of hatchery automation. Producers moved from traditional back-pack style spray applicators to semi-automatic spray cabinets late in the 80’s-90’s. The next step was to integrate the sprayers into the chick processing conveyors with more automatic detection and operation systems.

Within the last years we have been through a third new evolution in the hatchery vaccination and the vaccination equipment. In this case the main motor for the change is the introduction in the market of new technologies vaccines, significantly enlarging the possibilities for hatchery vaccination and pushing the vaccination equipment to the next level. Immune-complex vaccines and vector vaccines have been developed to be applied either subcutaneous or in-ovo. Meaning than, nowadays, in one injection shot birds can be protected against three to five major poultry diseases (like ND, IBD, MD, LT, AI, etc.). This outstanding change is speeding up quite significantly the switch from field vaccination to hatchery vaccination, on one side, and, in many cases, the switch from subcutaneous vaccination to in-ovo vaccination.

Another important factor towards switching to in-ovo hatchery vaccination is the availability of several in-ovo technologies providers. As new second evolution in-ovo equipment alternatives are available in the market, producers find themselves more comfortable while starting an in-ovo vaccination project in their hatcheries. Now they have the possibility to choose and to find the solution that fits better to their operational and financial needs.

A few considerations about the new vaccination technology that has been developed in the last years concerning Coccidiosis vaccination in the hatchery are mandatory. The new concept of Coccidiosis vaccination by means of Gel-Vaccine has proved to be much more efficient than the regular traditional water-based cocci spray vaccines method. Therefore, new equipment has been developed for this new vaccination approach, creating and allowing the day-old-chicks to ingest gel-droplets of vaccine in a much more efficient and natural way than cocci water-based sprayers. In the mean time, there is a clear and consistent trend on spray vaccination equipment towards some technical and performance improvements: better distribution patterns, better consistency on the droplet size homogeneity and the incorporation in the spray equipment of Cleaning-In-Place systems to minimize eventual contamination challenges and risks.

The last reason why there is a new dawn for hatchery vaccination is the evolution and the implementation of new hatchery vaccination services programs, like Ceva’s C.H.I.C.K. Program. Modern hatchery vaccination is becoming more and more specialized, demanding more and more control and monitoring activities from hatchery managers. The use of new technology vaccines for critical disease makes even more important the need of maximizing the vaccination efficacy and to keep under control all potential risks (equipment adjustments, vaccine preparation, bio-security, sanitary conditions of the vaccination process, etc.). Only by implementing these types of quality control and technical actions, in a strict and professional way, we can guarantee the best results, but this is quite time and human resources consuming. Hatchery vaccination success takes advantages of the current situation were high professional services are being implemented already in the hatcheries by external companies, like the vaccine providers. With this kind of support provided by local technical and services teams, the risk of problems when vaccinating in the hatchery is significantly minimized, and producers can therefore focus all their resources in their core business. 

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