Three important Q&A’s about temperature monitoring for vaccine storage

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Storing vaccines? Three Q&A’s you should review.

If you are storing vaccines, are you using the correct thermometer to monitor the temperature of your critical environment? Here are three important questions and answers to give you more knowledge about temperature monitoring for vaccine storage:

Q: What type of thermometers should you use for measuring temperatures in a vaccine storage unit?

A: The CDC recommends vaccines be monitored using a thermometer that provides continuous monitoring information with an active display. The thermometer should be digital and have a probe placed in a glycol-filled bottle. The thermometer should include an alarm for out-of-range temperature and have a low battery indicator. The thermometer should also be capable of showing both the current temperature and the minimum and maximum temperatures since the last reading. If the thermometer is a data logger with a min/max display, it should have a reset button. The unit should be capable of accuracy within +/- 0.5°C (+/- 1°F).1

Q: Do you know about digital data loggers?

A: Digital data loggers are electronic devices that may be programmed to record temperatures at intervals throughout the day (and night with remote control technology). Currently, the CDC recommends setting the data logger to measure the temperature no less frequently than every 30 minutes. Digital data loggers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles, and typically are battery operated. Some models have an alarm that can be set to ring at a specified temperature. Digital data loggers can be used with special software installed on a computer.1 Data loggers with wireless technology allow multiple users to stay connected and monitor critical environments 24/7 wherever you go.

Q: What is calibrated thermometer with certification and a report of calibration?

A: The CDC recommends you use only a calibrated thermometer with a Certificate of Traceability and Calibration Testing (also known as a Report of Calibration). This certificate provides the thermometer’s level of accuracy compared to a recognized standard. This certificate comes with the thermometer when it is purchased, and it is different than the manufacturer’s warranty. While all thermometers are calibrated during manufacturing, certified calibrated thermometers undergo a second individual calibration against a reference standard from an accredited testing laboratory.1 Find more on this topic at the CDC’s Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit. Read more about calibration.

1Immunization Action Coalition 2018, Ask the Experts: Storage and Handling, Accessed December 4, 2018, http://www.immunize.org/askexperts/storage-handling.asp#temperature

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