What if vaccines get too warm?

In healthcare, helping secure patient safety is crucial. That’s why health care providers work tirelessly to ensure their actions support this mission. Though despite their best efforts, mistakes happen, and unfortunately, vaccine storage solutions aren’t often up to standards. For instance, in October 2017, a healthcare agency in California made an accidental, but unfortunate overcorrection. Due to concerns that their vaccines were too warm while in transport, they utilized ice packs to cool them down. Later, a routine audit found that some vaccines became too cold and froze during the drive.

Because they couldn’t say for sure which vaccines maintained the integrity and which ones didn’t, everyone who received their vaccines required reimmunizations.

In the end, this mistake affected 23,000 patients.

As mistrust in vaccine integrity grows, there is no room for error. Nevertheless, there are steps healthcare providers can take to avoid the worst and stay prepared.

We’ve recently published an article covering the importance of having a dependable vaccine storage installed on site, but today we shift our attention to controlling and monitoring equipment for the complete cold supply chain.

Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold: Maintaining the Perfect Temperature Range

Preparing for the what-ifs is an essential part of working in healthcare environments. First things first, always read the packet insert provided by your distributor. This insert will guide you to the right storage temperature for your vaccine.

For more guidance, here’s what The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests for ideal temperature ranges:

  • Refrigerators should maintain temperatures between 2° C and 8° C (36° F and 46° F).
  • Freezers should maintain temperatures between -50° C and -15° C (-58° F and +5° F). Refrigerator or freezer thermostats should be set at the factory-set or midpoint temperature, which will decrease the likelihood of temperature excursions.

Another element that affects the temperature of your vaccine is the placement. For instance, avoid storing vaccines in refrigerator doors as opening and closing the doors makes vaccines vulnerable to warmer temperatures. In fact, the CDC recommends storing your vaccines in the middle of the fridge and placing older assets towards the front, so utilization happens before they expire.

All in all, proper monitoring is crucial to ensure that your assets maintain integrity.

The truth is, it takes a village and then some. Following guidelines that support successful audits and healthy patients is critical. That’s why manually monitoring the temperature of your storage units is not always the best solution. Having a continuous temperature monitoring system in place that not only alerts you when your temperature goes awry but also keeps accurate records of every temperature your units are experiencing is essential.

When you have an action plan, you worry less. If you want better certainty that the vaccines you’re giving patients are potent, you need a temperature monitoring system in place that sends you alerts and notifications when something goes wrong.

Many monitoring systems come equipped with an alert function. Some facilities prefer to use continuous monitoring systems that utilize the phone tree method. This method sends notifications to one member of the team when their designated parameters drop below requirements making them the first line of defense. If the first member of the team is unable to go on-site to address the problem, they can choose to pass the alert to the next person on the list.

Having a system in place that has thorough reporting for audits is non-negotiable. These reviews verify that you’re doing everything in your power to provide excellent patient care, and your reporting system will prove this. In turn, an adequate reporting system saves your team time and ensures that your paperwork will be in order when governing bodies like the FDA or Joint Commission come knocking.

Having proper notifications allows you to address the problem immediately, wasting no time.

For example, with Mesa’s ViewPoint Temperature Monitoring System alerts users of any readings that are outside the programmed acceptable range for that appliance undergoing monitoring. The ViewPoint monitoring system emails and sends text notifications of an alarm state to users’ day or night. Multiple email addresses, cell phone numbers, and alarm notification lists can be utilized, providing the client with the best line of defense against any issue regarding your valuable products.

With ViewPoint, healthcare workers maintain full transparency with their assets and that security is priceless.

Priority: Potent Vaccines

Achieving Effective Assets with Continuous Monitoring

When it comes to safeguarding your valuable assets, your monitoring tools should be the best. Healthcare environments are complex, and when data is funneling in from multiple inputs, or hand recording is utilized, the complication amplifies. That’s why it’s crucial to create a system that gives you reliable and usable data along with accurate reports that meet regulatory requirements.

Ensuring drugs remain valid, and blood samples maintain viability is critical to mitigating product loss and health risks. To do so, you will need an efficient, flexible continuous monitoring system that upholds all regulatory requirements.

If you want to have a further conversation on how we can help out with your vaccine storage needs, please get in touch with us via 800-829-5741.

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