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Time to Vaccinate – Looking Beyond Antibiotics

Antimicrobial resistance has been widely highlighted as one of the most urgent problems of our time. Alongside the medical profession, livestock farming has a part to play in slowing the speed at which resistant microorganisms develop.

Through our Time to Vaccinate initiative, MSD Animal Health is committed to supporting farmers to move towards a more preventive approach on farm, and therefore protect animal health and welfare and reduce antimicrobial use within the industry.

British farmers have already demonstrated the high degree to which they can reduce on-farm antimicrobial use. In October 2017, Defra reported that sales of antibiotics for use in animals in the UK had fallen to their lowest level since records began, exceeding a government target two years ahead of schedule1.

However, further ambitious targets have now been set for every major livestock sector with the aim of continuing this reduction1. Vaccination has always played a role in modern livestock farming by helping to control infectious disease, and by doing so has the scope to help the industry meet its targets.

Our whitepaper Time to Vaccinate – Looking Beyond Antibiotics explores the potential for vaccination to reduce the spread of infectious disease, therefore reducing the need for antimicrobial use, and identifies the opportunities to raise vaccination rates across the cattle, sheep and pig industries.

The whitepaper is a collaboration between leading animal health experts which provides a comprehensive analysis of the scientific evidence in favour of vaccination and other preventive healthcare measures, to help reduce the need for antibiotics. It is also a call to policy makers to support farmers in looking beyond antibiotics.

Time to Vaccinate emphasises that there should be a focus on controlling infectious diseases through proactive and robust prevention programmes in which vaccines play a crucial role. Through the campaign, we hope that farmers and their veterinary surgeons feel empowered to make informed decisions about vaccination as part of their overall animal health plans.


  1. Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD). 2017. UK – Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance and Sales Surveillance Report.
  2. Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA). 2017. Targets Task Force Report 2017.