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Proc Biol Sci. 2014 Apr 16;281(1784):20132839. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2839. Print 2014 Jun 7.

Veterinary and human vaccine evaluation methods.

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The Pirbright Institute, , Pirbright, UK, The Royal Veterinary College (VEEPH), University of London, , London, UK, School of Paediatrics and Child Health (SPACH), The University of Western Australia, , Crawley, Australia.


Despite the universal importance of vaccines, approaches to human and veterinary vaccine evaluation differ markedly. For human vaccines, vaccine efficacy is the proportion of vaccinated individuals protected by the vaccine against a defined outcome under ideal conditions, whereas for veterinary vaccines the term is used for a range of measures of vaccine protection. The evaluation of vaccine effectiveness, vaccine protection assessed under routine programme conditions, is largely limited to human vaccines. Challenge studies under controlled conditions and sero-conversion studies are widely used when evaluating veterinary vaccines, whereas human vaccines are generally evaluated in terms of protection against natural challenge assessed in trials or post-marketing observational studies. Although challenge studies provide a standardized platform on which to compare different vaccines, they do not capture the variation that occurs under field conditions. Field studies of vaccine effectiveness are needed to assess the performance of a vaccination programme. However, if vaccination is performed without central co-ordination, as is often the case for veterinary vaccines, evaluation will be limited. This paper reviews approaches to veterinary vaccine evaluation in comparison to evaluation methods used for human vaccines. Foot-and-mouth disease has been used to illustrate the veterinary approach. Recommendations are made for standardization of terminology and for rigorous evaluation of veterinary vaccines.


evaluation; vaccine; vaccine effectiveness; veterinary

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