- A competent and well-trained staff
- Reliable storage and temperature monitoring equipment
- Accurate inventory management
If you want to ensure that your laboratory’s refrigerated vaccines are viable and able to protect your patients, you’re going to want to follow these essential practices for their care.
Vaccines are essential to the continuation of human life, but they are also incredibly fragile. With so many dangerous and deadly diseases in existence, it is vital that the vaccines that protect us from them are well-cared for. An effective cold chain — also known as a temperature-controlled supply chain — relies on three things:
Maintain Their Ideal Temperature
Refrigerated vaccines require a temperature between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit, but their ideal temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If they fall outside of that range, in either direction, they will need to be discarded and replaced; since vaccines contain live viruses, any extreme changes in temperature can damage the contents and cause the life-saving materials to break down, reducing their efficacy when administered to patients.
We Have The Technology
The best way to ensure your vaccine refrigerator is holding strong between that range is to monitor and record its temperature daily. By equipping the unit with a device that records daily highs and lows, you will always be aware of the state of your vaccines. Additionally, you’ll need to calibrate that temperature monitoring device (TMD) every one or two years; if it is no longer accurate within +/- one degree Fahrenheit, it needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
Keep The Original Packaging
Vaccines are so sensitive that even exposure to light can raise their temperatures and cause damage, so it’s vital that you keep them in the packaging they originally arrived in, with the lids on. Except when you need to remove them and administer an inoculation to a patient, they should always remain in their light-protective encasements.
Keep The Door Closed
Just like how you wouldn’t leave your front door open while you’re trying to air condition your home, you should try to reduce the number of times the vaccine refrigerator door is opened and closed. This means you cannot store food, beverages, or anything else other than vaccines; not only does it increase the surrounding temperatures because people are constantly opening the door, it also poses the risk of contamination.