Managing Vaccine Temperatures
These days managing vaccine temperatures is a hot topic. That’s especially true with the development of the new Covid 19 vaccine. However, managing vaccine temperatures isn’t a new practice. In fact, it’s always been important to keep vaccines within proper temperatures to ensure their effectiveness.
As a provider, how can you improve your vaccine storage? You can choose to monitor temperatures manually, or use outdated temperature monitors. That said, technology gives us easier, more efficient ways to prevent temperature excursions for crucial medications.
CDC Best Practices
The CDC (or Center for Disease Control) is one of the world’s most reliable authorities in the healthcare industry. As a result, many providers turn to this organization for up to date information about how to properly manage their vaccines.
According to CDC best practices for vaccine temperature monitoring:
Refrigerated vaccines should stay between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit
- Frozen vaccines should stay between -58 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit
- Vaccine refrigerators/freezers need monitoring at least 2x daily
- Temperatures need to be checked whenever accessing the cold storage
- Temperature excursions must be reported, with the duration included
- Reset digital thermometers after measuring temperatures
- Keep accurate, documented logs for readings
- Record minimum and maximum temperatures within each reading
- Do not record anything in the log if no reading occurs
As you can see, these are only the minimum practices the CDC recommends. Depending on the specific vaccine (such as the Covid-19 vaccine), there may be other protocols necessary. For example, using the vaccine within a certain timeline after taking it from the freezer or refrigerator.
Do Temperature Loggers Fall Within Best Practices?
Rather than taking temperature readings for yourself, you might be able to use a temperature logger. But, does that qualify as ‘best practices’ for managing vaccine temperatures?
The good news: yes! You can use temperature loggers to manage your vaccine storage.
The even better news: temperature loggers follow ‘best practices,’ and then some.
Temperature loggers go far beyond minimum measurement requirements. Rather than measuring temperatures at the beginning and end of the day, they do it pretty much all day. In fact, temperature loggers take readings every few minutes.
A temperature logger that takes readings every 3-5 minutes can record readings nearly 300 times a day.
That’s a lot more security than just twice a day, right? But what about reporting requirements?
Temperature loggers actually keep a historical log of their temperature readings. If you need to verify the temperatures in your vaccine storage, you have records to prove it. Now, the CDC also says that you need to report any temperature excursions, as well as how long they last.
Temperature loggers take care of that too. If your vaccine fridge or freezer falls out of safe temperature ranges, you’ll be alerted immediately. And in the case of a power outage, you’ll be notified of that too. Because the logger system anticipates temperature readings every few minutes, a lack of readings signals an issue. After missing some readings, you receive an alert so you can prevent a temperature excursion.
Do you need to reset loggers like thermometers?
Temperature loggers don’t really need to be reset like the typical digital thermometers do. They use much higher level technology, and keep accurate readings for much longer. While you may need to calibrate your temperature logger, you don’t need to do it daily. In fact, you can calibrate your temperature logger only about once every year. We recommend using a professional calibration service, so you get documentation showing your device’s accuracy. Not only that, you can save yourself the stress and hassle of doing it yourself.
How to keep the Covid-19 vaccine?
The Covid-19 vaccine is bringing vaccine storage back to the forefront of people’s minds. These highly sensitive, and crucial vaccines need particular care to be effective. However, depending on the vaccine in question, you have to deal with different storage requirements.
According to the CDC, the Moderna vaccine arrives frozen, between -13 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you can store it in a vaccine refrigerator between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 30 days (assuming the vials aren’t punctured).
When it comes to the Pfizer vaccine, the requirements are similar. However, the timeline is much tighter. You can still store it in a vaccine refrigerator between 36 and 46 degrees. With that said, you can only keep it at these temperatures for up to five days before it’s unusable. This vaccine can last much longer in extremely cold conditions. When you store it in a specialized freezer with temperatures between -112 and -76 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s usable until the expiration date.
*Like other CDC vaccination storage guidelines, you must routinely monitor and record temperatures for Covid-19 vaccine storage. Many regions also require you to keep records of temperature logs for up to three years.