Veterinary vaccines protect humans as well as animals, says Director-General

FAO launches “Veterinary Vaccines: Principles and Applications” at global event

13 May 2021, Rome - Veterinary vaccines and immunization protect not only animals but also public health, says Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu. He spoke at the virtual launch of a new FAO-led publication entitled "Veterinary Vaccines: Principles and Applications".

"This book is part of the continued assistance FAO provides to its Members to accelerate and scale-up their work against animal diseases," he said, stressing that it is also "an important milestone" to tap into the potential of vaccines in preventing animal-to-human disease transmission from both domestic animals and wildlife.

The Director-General also highlighted the need for scaling up the One Health - One Planet approach to tackle diseases from all fronts, given the interconnected relationship between the health of people, animals, plants and the environment.

He noted that FAO's work is guided by a strategic vision, with the goal of achieving the Four Betters: Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment, and a Better Life; adding that "sustainable animal production as well as the health and vaccination of livestock are essential to achieve the 4 Betters".  

The Director-General provided some insights on how vaccines help increase the production of livestock in a cost-effective manner, with a positive economic impact on rural, livestock‐dependent families.

He stated that it was crucial to leverage the benefits of modern technological advances and ensure access to good quality veterinary vaccines for all farmers, noting the scientific progress achieved in the fields of immunology, microbiology and genomics over the past decades.

The most recent example of successful livestock vaccination campaign was the eradication of rinderpest in 2011, marking a significant event in veterinary medicine.

A major step forward

The book will be a valuable resource to a wide audience, said the Director-General. This includes government authorities, decision makers, field veterinaries, livestock keepers, the scientific community, vaccine producers, veterinary students, and investors. To maximise its impact, he emphasized the importance of creating enabling policies and organizing consultations with all stakeholders to reach a consensus and make livestock vaccination campaigns work on the ground. 

In addition, the Director-General pointed to the need to rethink the way we educate youth and children. He urged the experts to create more engaging, user-friendly materials for younger generations about such complex issues as animal and public health.

About the book

Led by FAO, the book brings together close to 100 leading experts from around the world, spanning 51 academic institutions, the private and public sectors, as well as regional and international organizations.

The book contains high-level technical and practical information and guidance on veterinary vaccines. It reviews the principles of vaccinology, the immune response, vaccination strategies as well as applications and monitoring.

It also contains information on the development of new generation vaccines as well as new approaches for their development and production. A full review of vaccines against selected high impact animal and zoonotic diseases and an overview of strategic vaccine reserves and banks are also included.  

Photo: ©FAO/Hoang Dinh Nam / FAO
Veterinarians administering free vaccines to chickens to prevent another outbreak of the H5N1 virus at one of the many vaccination points set up by the Vietnamese Government in An Thuong, Vietnam.