The flu season serves as an annual reminder of the importance of vaccinations. It’s the time of year when healthcare providers meticulously prepare to provide vaccines to patients of all ages. However, in the rush to defend against the flu, one essential component that should not be overlooked is vaccination storage.
In this article, we will explore why appropriate vaccination storage is critical during the flu season and beyond. We’ll delve into the features your fridge should have, why temperature monitoring is important, and how Arctiko offers solutions to ensure your vaccinations are stored properly.
Why Proper Vaccine Storage Matters?
Vaccines are sensitive, and their effectiveness depends on being stored within specific temperature ranges. Failure to store and handle vaccines properly will reduce their potency, resulting in inadequate immune responses in patients and poor protection against disease.
In the 2022/23 season, 173.37 million doses of flu vaccine were distributed in the United States. That’s a substantial number of vaccine doses that must be stored properly to ensure they remain effective. Failure to do so can have catastrophic consequences, including increased healthcare costs, reduced immunisation coverage, and a higher risk of disease outbreaks.
Choosing a Dedicated Medical Refrigerator
Choosing the right fridge is the key component of safe vaccine storage. Household fridges are intended for daily food storage and would fail to deliver the precise temperature control required for vaccinations.
Unlike standard kitchen fridges, medical refrigerators are professionally engineered to keep temperatures consistently within a narrow window, often between +2°C and +8°C (or 36°F to 46°F).
Essential Features in Medical Refrigeration
When it comes to medical refrigeration, there is no room for compromise. Patient safety is paramount, which is why medical fridges are equipped with security features. These typically include locks and access controls to prevent unauthorised entry, ensuring that only authorised personnel can access the contents.
Additionally, medical fridges offer a choice between solid and glass doors. Solid doors provide extra insulation and protection from light, which can be detrimental to certain medications and vaccines. On the other hand, glass doors offer visibility without the need to open the fridge, reducing temperature fluctuations and ensuring items are easily accessible.
Imagine this scenario: the temperature inside a medical fridge begins to creep outside the optimal range. It’s a subtle change, but potentially disastrous for the vaccines.
This is where the fridge alert system steps into action, immediately notifying staff if the temperature of the fridge deviates. This early warning system enables employees to respond to temperature issues quickly and efficiently, protecting the vaccine.
Ensuring Correct Vaccine Storage
While the usage of medical refrigeration is crucial, correct stocking practices are also essential.
When placing vaccines in the vaccine fridge, it is important to make sure there is sufficient space left for air to circulate (we recommend no more than 50%), and you should not place vaccines near the side/back wall of the fridge to prevent freezing. It is also important to rotate vaccine stock so that vaccines with the shortest expiry date are moved to the front of the fridge and used first.
Finally, vaccines must also be kept in their original packaging, which protects them from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light that may lead to a loss of potency.
Importance of Temperature Monitoring
Flu vaccinations are needed now more than ever, so ensuring the precise temperature is critical to make sure that all vaccines are in their correct temperature state.
The best way to do this is through a temperature data logger – a measurement instrument that is capable of recording temperature over a period of time.
These devices are essential investments as they are more cost-effective than having to replace vaccines due to inaccurate storage temperatures. A digital data logger will provide the most accurate results and indicate how long the fridge has been outside of the correct storage temperature.
Contact the Team Today
This flu season don’t leave vaccine safety to chance. Arctiko’s solutions ensure that your vaccines are stored correctly and securely. Our team of cooling experts is ready to help you protect public health by storing vaccines properly. Contact us today to learn more and safeguard the health of your community.