Vaccines | Overview, Quick Facts and Resources

Disease prevention through vaccination is essential in helping animals live healthy lives.

The benefits of vaccines have long been understood by generations of parents who’ve protected the health of their children. Similarly, for farmers, veterinarians and pet owners, vaccines provide essential protections against illness in livestock and pets.

Vaccination offers an effective, inexpensive way to prevent a deadly disease like rabies from harming the animals in their care. These medicines are a cornerstone of any animal welfare program.

But while protecting welfare is a priority, the benefits of vaccination go far beyond the individual animal. Stopping animal disease through vaccination can also prevent infections from spreading to other animals, greatly reducing the risk of the kind of disease outbreaks that result in catastrophic loss of life.

This is of huge importance to communities in which livestock plays a central role; it’s thought that the lives of 1bn people across the globe are entirely dependent on these animals.

With one in five of these animals lost due to  disease each year, vaccination offers the possibility to safeguard the livelihoods of millions, driving economic growth for some of the world’s poorest communities.

Vaccination’s proven track record in eliminating disease demonstrates this is possible. Rinderpest – which devastated cattle across three continents for three decades – was declared to have been eradicated in 2011 after an internationally coordinated vaccination effort.

In our homes, vaccinations can keep our pets free from zoonoses (diseases than can pass from animals to people and vice-versa) like rabies, which protects both their health and that of our families. And by keeping your dog or cat free from disease, vaccinations allow us to share our homes and close relationships with our pets.


Quick Facts

  • Vaccines protect livelihoods: About 70% of the world’s ‘extreme poor’ are dependent on livestock – vaccines protect livestock and the many communities that rely upon them for milk, meat and eggs, as well as their income.
  • Vaccines help small and large farmers: Vaccinations are a great facilitator of different farming approaches across the world. By greatly reducing the risk of disease, vaccination makes many different kinds of businesses viable, whether that’s keeping large volumes of animals together or free-range farming.
  • Vaccines help control AMR: Vaccination plays a central role in the global response to antimicrobial resistance (or AMR). By proactively protecting disease, livestock producers can reduce the need for antibiotic treatment for infection.
  • Vaccinating animals means healthier people: When we vaccinate animals against a zoonotic disease like rabies, which can be transferred to people, we prevent it from ever reaching us.This is why vaccinations are a key component of any OneHealth strategy.
  • Vaccines eradicate disease: Rinderpest had a devastating effect on cattle populations across three continents for decades. But through the production of standardized vaccines and a globally coordinated effort, the disease was declared to have been successfully eradicated in 2011.