World Rabies Day 2023: The Importance of Vaccines


A veterinary professional administers a vaccines

Vaccine hesitancy is a relatively recent phenomenon. In 1955, when Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine became available, the public’s reaction differed greatly from the response to the COVID-19 vaccine release sixty-six years later. There was a good deal of vaccine hesitancy in 2021 that was not evident in 1955. Vaccine hesitancy is now spilling over into veterinary medicine.

Canine Vaccine Hesitancy

Canine vaccine hesitancy, as defined by a recent publication in Vaccine, is a dog owner’s skepticism about the safety and efficacy of administering routine vaccinations to their dogs. The authors of this publication found vaccine hesitancy in dog owners was associated with dogs not receiving rabies vaccinations. They also report reluctance of dog owners to administer other recommended vaccinations.

Rabies Vaccines Save Lives Worldwide

The World Health Organization reports more than 50,000 people die of rabies annually. Worldwide, dogs are responsible for the transmission of rabies to humans 99% of the time. Policies that require rabies vaccinations in dogs save lives of dogs and humans from certain death if they are infected with the rabies virus. In high-risk areas, vaccination of at least 70% of the canine population drastically reduces the transmission of rabies from rabid dogs to people.

Canine Rabies Closer to Home

Rabies is a somewhat different story in the United States. There were only 5 human deaths from rabies in 2021, the most recent year the data has been collated. In 2021, rabies cases in animals decreased – probably due to the COVID-19 pandemic – and cats, not dogs, are the domestic animal most likely to be diagnosed with rabies. Nationwide, there were just under 3,600 rabid animals identified in 2021 6 percent were cats, and only 1 percent dogs. There is a big “but” here behind these low numbers. The United States has robust vaccination programs for dogs that are responsible for keeping rabies at bay in this country. If canine vaccine hesitancy begins to interfere with vaccination of dogs, the US is at risk for a surge in rabies in dogs with increased transmission to people.

Canine Vaccine Hesitancy Research

The research published in Vaccine demonstrated a significant proportion of dog owners considered vaccines to be unsafe (37%), ineffective (22%) and/or unnecessary (30%). Dog owners who have concerns about canine vaccination safety are also likely to have concerns about the safety, efficacy and necessity of vaccines for themselves. The pervasive nature of canine vaccine hesitancy may threaten our relative freedom from rabies here in the USA.

World Rabies Day 2023

September 28th is World Rabies Day. It’s a good reminder to contact your veterinarian’s office and make sure your dog and cat are up to date on their rabies vaccinations. If not, protect everyone in the family by vaccinating your cat and dog.

Not sure which vaccinations are right for your dog? Read the Usdan Institute Pet Health Library entry on vaccinations for dogs and talk to your dog’s veterinarian about the appropriate vaccination protocol for your dog.

rabies, rabies vaccine, vaccine hesitancy, world rabies day,


Source link

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.