Imagine how our lives would be if vaccines were never invented. Vaccines play a crucial part in the quality of life as they provide increased resistance against most infectious diseases like polio, smallpox, and chickenpox. Increased population growth and technological advancements have accelerated the risks of contracting infectious diseases, increasing the need for receiving vaccinations against different diseases.
Vaccines have to be stored and handled accurately as per the manufacturer’s instructions to maintain their effectiveness. Proper handling of vaccines and storage, as advised by different companies like Absolute Automation during manufacturing, storage, transport, and delivery, directly affects the quality of the vaccine. Poor handling of the vaccines results to:
- Harmful vaccines with a probability of health risks
- Financial losses as individuals have to be re-vaccinated
- Lowered potency and protection of the vaccines
Errors that arise from handling and storage of the vaccines have diverse and detrimental effects on the general public’s perceptions. For successful and effective vaccination to be accepted by the population and become a common practice, the different vaccines’ handling and storage procedures require careful management by the entire chain, starting from the manufacturer, healthcare distributor, provider, and the final distributor.
Handling & Storage Of Vaccines
All the available healthcare facilities have stipulated and written down protocols for routine storage, including all the emergencies that may arise, for example, when there is a system failure, power failure, or a natural disaster. All healthcare professionals are effectively trained on using all the equipment like the temperature monitoring device to ensure all the storage requirements are effectively met. Some of the training they have to undergo includes:
- Ordering vaccines and accepting all deliveries
- The appropriate protocols for storing different vaccines
- Keeping the right vaccine stock levels
- Disposal and handling procedures for the compromised vaccines
- Procedures for the required emergency vaccine storage
- Buying the right storage units and determination of the relevant storage temperatures of all vaccines
- The right way of handling and using the temperature monitoring equipment
Power failure is not the only reason why vaccines are compromised. When the vaccines are left unrefrigerated for a long period, their temperatures are tampered with, leaving the vaccines unsafe for the general population.
Cold Chain Of The Vaccines
The cold chain refers to the specified temperatures that are maintained for the vaccines. At the manufacturing facility, vaccines are usually stored in the cold unit. During transportation, the vaccines are stored in well-designed cold facilities, and after delivery in specific healthcare facilities, they are stored in refrigerators or cold units.
Apart from the heat, intensive light and excess cold are detrimental to the vaccines as they affect the quality and reliability of the vaccines. After the vaccines are destroyed, their potency cannot be in any way restored. Consulting the vaccine manufacturer is necessary to get the recommended storage temperature ranges involving diagnosing and correcting temperature issues.
If the vaccines in the storage facilities are compromised, they must be discarded and not admitted to any patients to prevent negative effects on the patient’s health. All the disposal protocols must be followed entirely by all the teams that handle the vaccines at any point.
Recommended Storage Temperatures
There are vaccine refrigerated between 1.7oC and 8.3oClike:
- Meningococcal containing
- Human papilloma
The vaccines store between -50o C and -15o C include:
There are vaccines highly sensitive to freezing; hence low temperatures affect the vaccines compared to high temperatures. For proper storage conditions, including temperatures consulting the manufacturers is always advised.
Vaccine Storage & Temperature Monitoring Equipment
Vaccine supply requires companies from the manufacturers to the storage facilities to have proper storage equipment for all the vaccines. Refrigerators and freezers serve as the cold units, and they have temperature fluctuations depending on the vaccine temperature requirements. The pharmaceutical industry has designed and manufactured units, and most providers are recommended to choose from the custom-built units.
Vaccine thermometers are vital in the cold chain system. The vaccine providers have a wide range of temperature monitoring devices where a healthcare facility can choose from their requirements.
Continuous Monitoring Devices
They provide detailed information on the length of time that any storage unit has functioned against the manufacturers’ vaccine storage temperature recommendations and the deviations. There are features that the continuous monitoring devices have like:
- Digital display allowing temperature viewing without having to open the storage units
- Warning mechanism that indicates the temperature levels outside the recommended range
- Should have the long and short term temperature readings
- Accuracy with a range of +/- 0.5oC
Digital Data Loggers
They are battery-operated and are used to monitor and record continuous temperature ranges. They record discrete temperature readings through the set intervals. They are equipped with efficient software. They are digitized, allowing users to access and download temperature readings to determine the minimum and maximum readings and the exact time the ranges occurred.
They are specifically designed to notify the healthcare staff of any problems that arise from the storage units. The alarms are effective when they are promptly responded to without any delays.
In conclusion, vaccines must be handled and stored as per the manufacturers’ recommendations to maintain their effectiveness. Vaccine monitoring devices help inform the healthcare staff on the deviations of temperatures and if they are in the right ranges.