Every year, doctors and healthcare providers are given an astounding number of vaccines for distribution, and every year a troubling amount of vaccines are thrown away due to improper storage. Much of this problem has to do with fluctuating temperatures; it turns out there is an ideal temperature for storing vaccines, and once vaccines have gone above or below that spectrum for a period of time, they are at risk of losing their potency. While this is a concern for doctors and pharmaceutical companies, there are a few best practices that will help everyone keep their vaccines cold and effective.
First, it is important to be aware that most vaccines must be kept at temperatures between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius during their entire life cycle in order to maintain their efficacy. This means that proper refrigeration is key to the successful storage of vaccines. While there are a number of brands of refrigerators on the market, refrigerators should be able to hold the volume of vaccines needed by the practice as well as maintain temperatures at the desired range.
Do not store vaccines in the refrigerator doors because this is where temperature changes occur the most often. Since the refrigerator temperature can vary, it is recommended to use temperature data loggers to monitor the temperature over a period of time. Note that some refrigerators do a better job than others at maintaining temperatures within a tight temperature range.
Simply put, vaccine refrigeration is all-important when it comes to keeping vaccines viable and effective. To this end, keeping vaccines cold no matter what happens should be the priority of healthcare and pharmaceutical professionals. This means that emergency and loss of power protocols are essential to every vaccine provider. It is one thing to have a working fridge to keep vaccines cold, and another thing to keep that fridge running when the power goes out. Vaccine providers should have detailed plans for these unforeseen emergencies, such as connecting refrigerators to backup generators in case of power loss or having a way to move vaccines to another refrigerator. Keeping a chain of cold storage for vaccines is an important part of being a vaccine provider.
Ultimately, the best way to ensure vaccines work is to keep them within proper temperature ranges, and this requires adequate refrigeration. When a healthcare or pharmaceutical provider uses effective refrigeration and has backup plans to keep the refrigeration going when the power is gone, the vaccines are in very safe hands. The most important lesson is that proper vaccine refrigeration is important for maintaining the recommended storage temperature of the vaccines.