People rely on vaccines to protect themselves against many diseases or resulting disabilities in their lifetime. A bothersome scenario is a population that thinks it is receiving immunization but is left vulnerable to diseases because the vaccine is ineffective due to the lack of proper vaccine storage.
Proper Vaccine Storage
Technology has had a huge impact on the effectiveness of vaccines. Temperature measurement products have especially undergone the shift from consumer technology, simple digital home devices, to healthcare technology, information technologies used to enhance and optimize processes and improve care.
The earlier years of vaccine storage involved reading simple digital max/min thermometers that had to be checked at least twice a day with the temperatures manually being logged into a log book then checked by authorities. The proper storage consisted of the practices listed below, which, for the most part, are still used today:
- Vaccines must be stored in an environment with a controlled temperature, for instance, a refrigerator that maintains a stable temperature ranging from 2˚C to 8˚C.
- Bottles of water should be placed on the door of the refrigerator to provide temperature stability, especially if the refrigerator door is left open
- Bins should be placed carefully in the refrigerator, take care to not place bins too close to refrigerator walls as walls could change temperature for temperature stability
- A thermometer, set to the out option and attached to the diluent vial, should then be taped in the center of the middle shelf
- Give the refrigerator time to reach the temperature within the cold chain range for vaccines to be properly stored and maintained
- One person, who understands how to handle these tools, should be chosen to oversee that storage and handling guidelines are met
- The temperature of the refrigerator holding the vaccines should be checked twice daily with maximum and minimum temperatures recorded in a log book
- The thermometer should be reset after each reading to ensure temperatures are read accurately
As more guidelines became apparent for vaccine storage, it became clear that there would have to be something done to improve and facilitate the process of ensuring that the vaccines remained within the cold chain range. This caused the shift from min/max alarm thermometers to digital data-logging thermometers (DDLs). DDLs have an internal memory that logs the data regularly throughout the day along with an alarm should the temperature veer outside of required limits. This data can be downloaded for analysis and reporting needs. However, one concern with data logging was simply that someone could be away and therefore unable to hear the alarm sounding, as is often the case in practice, with facilities being unmanned over 50% of the time.
As guidelines and technology continued to improve, facilities began to request some change. Perhaps there could be a way to be alerted, if away at any point in time, for when the temperature of the refrigerator holding vaccines was fluctuating. Therefore, simple solutions like TraceableLIVE® exist today. Instruments with cloud-based monitoring allow one to remain connected and alert on any personal device when out of the office or simply in a location where one cannot hear the alarm in case of worrisome temperature changes.
The storage process is far simpler now with the use of cloud-based monitoring thermometers. Learn more about the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendations for vaccine storage and handling.
Learn more about vaccines for children program.