Guide for managing the deployment of frozen COVID vaccines.

Guide for managing the deployment of frozen COVID vaccines.

Staff Training is Critical

Provide all vaccination staff proper training in cold chain supply, freezer operations, and frozen sample handling.

Ultra Low Freezer (ULT) Selection Must Meet Local Requirements

  • Choose lab freezers with the widest temperature range to accommodate vaccine candidates and choose the smallest freezer required.
  • Confirm the power configuration available in your lab before purchase, especially in areas with low-grade power supply.
  • Have a dedicated backup power system in place in case of a power outage.
  • Install an independent internal thermometer sensor to log/alert against temperature fluctuations. Ensure internet or Wi-Fi access and send alerts to multiple staff.

Ultra Low Freezer (ULT) Installation Requires a Specific Storage Area

  • Each lab freezer requires an independent circuit. Ensure outlets are on an emergency circuit with built-in redundancy.
  • Ensure the room where the freezer will be housed can handle additional heat load. ULT units will increase humidity and temperature.
  • ULT Lab freezers need to pull air in and exhaust without restriction.

Check clearance requirements outlined by each manufacturer before purchase.

ULT Lab Freezer Operation and Maintenance must be Coordinated

  • Access to vaccines needs a strict procedure for how staff will manage door openings. Aim for a few short door openings to avoid freezer temperature fluctuations. Allow the freezer to return to set temperature.
  • Avoid an empty unit. If you do not have products to fill the unit, consider adding empty aluminum racks to fill it.
  • Regularly clean the condenser and gaskets to prevent ice formation, especially around doors.
  • Ensure Ultra Low Freezers are calibrated for accuracy of temperature display.

Ultra Low Freezer (ULT) Emergency Planning

  • Draft an emergency plan in case of freezer failure, power outage, natural disaster, and other common hazards.
  • Have a written procedure for transferring specimens to alternative storage (e.g., dry ice).
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