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This NebGuide explains the basics of vaccine value, the differences between types of vaccines used in animals, and discusses vaccine selection and vaccination program development.
Vaccines are an important part of disease prevention and control. Like insurance, vaccines come at a cost, including the price of the vaccine, labor to administer the vaccine, localized tissue damage from vaccine injections, and increased metabolic demand of the animal causing potential performance loss during the time the animal is developing a proper immune response. The increased metabolic demand can cause the animal to look depressed and therefore may be confused with illness. This is sometimes referred to as "vaccine sweat." If the risk of a particular disease is low, the insurance afforded by vaccination may not be required and the benefit provided might not be cost effective. If the risk of disease is high, the insurance afforded by vaccination may be very cost effective even if it does not completely prevent sickness. It is important to view vaccines only as an aid to health management and not the foundation of animal health.