In order for the COVID-19 vaccine to be developed, many months were required for clinical trials, and now scientists are confident that the vaccines available are safe and effective. However, the work is far from over.
Now that vaccines are being distributed and administered across New Zealand, it is crucial that these processes undergo active surveillance and safety monitoring. There are a large array of side effects that people may experience and certain conditions may affect the efficacy of the drugs, which need to be reported.
So what exactly needs to be monitored?
Adverse Side Effects
After the vaccine has been administered, it is possible for the recipient to feel side effects. This is completely normal. As long as they are mild, there is no need to be alarmed. However, significant adverse effects such as allergic reactions or severe symptoms should be reported. This is because they are pertinent to vaccine safety monitoring.
It is not possible to actively monitor recipients after immunisation due to privacy concerns. Therefore, it is essential that recipients understand the importance of reporting adverse reactions to the vaccine.
Reporting on incidents of vaccine side effects help the government continue to develop the vaccine safety monitoring program. Every piece of recipient data allows them to learn more about the vaccine's effects. This then makes the process safer for everyone. Vaccine recipients can report their adverse side effects by filling out an adverse event reporting form.
Patterns in AEFIS
Data from adverse vaccine events is compiled to find patterns and trends. This can lead to discovering concerns about the immunisation process that were previously undiscovered. This can then result in new research being conducted. For example, if the adverse event reporting system reveals side effects that were not present or seen in clinical trials, scientists will need to conduct research on the underlying causes.
In addition to this, if certain groups of people with unique conditions overwhelmingly experience side effects, recipient data will reveal a trend. From here, the group of people will be characterised as higher risk for the vaccine. This information can then be distributed, which assists in enhancing public health and knowledge. Scientists are also able to begin working on a solution for these populations so they can still be protected from COVID-19.
Where Temperature Monitoring Comes in
If a high volume of recipients are reporting ineffective vaccines or adverse side effects after vaccine administration from a particular site, experts must first direct their attention toward the storage units and cold chain.
The COVID-19 vaccine requires very cold temperatures to be stored safely. Ideally 5 degrees Celsius, but anything between 2-8 degrees Celsius is acceptable. However, some vaccines, such as the Pfizer variant, must be stored at -70 degrees Celsius.
In the event that the vaccine is exposed to a temperature outside that range for more than 15 minutes, the incident is considered a breach in the cold chain, and the drug may be rendered ineffective.
To make sure that the drugs remain safe and effective, temperature monitoring equipment is a necessity. The cold chain begins as soon as the drug is produced. It then continues all the way through to administration. Once the vaccine reaches the facility, it only has a few days of shelf life until it expires. Monitoring temperature changes every step of the way is critical in accomplishing an efficient and safe vaccination rollout.
For a product as sensitive to temperature changes as the COVID-19 vaccine, a reliable solution is necessary. This is why Testo’s temperature measuring tools are the cutting edge technology that is a perfect fit to assist during this pandemic.
Testo has a wide range of products that are capable of accurate temperature monitoring throughout the cold chain. For instance, the Testo Saveris 2, our WiFi-capable data logger system, is easy to use, highly versatile and reliable. It can be installed and operated through an internet browser. This makes it a highly effective solution as experts don’t need to waste precious time installing our products - their internet compatibility and user-friendly features make them perfect in situations when time is of the essence.
Another key hurdle in vaccine distribution is transportation. Keeping that vaccine at an acceptable temperature range while frequently transferring it from one environment to another is a challenge that cannot be underestimated. Fortunately, the Testo 184 is designed for transportation purposes, even at temperatures as low as -80 degrees Celsius for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. It is a data logger that monitors temperature changes throughout the entire cold chain. Because several people may be monitoring the temperature of storage units, readability is essential. Thankfully this product could not be more intuitive. With efficiency being of utmost importance, there is little room for error. The Testo 184 allows for uninterrupted temperature monitoring to ensure little to no cold chain breaches.
Vaccine administration cannot be adequately monitored without active surveillance and efficient technology being part of the equation. If vaccine recipients report issues, there needs to be readily available and accurate data showing that the problem does not stem from cold chain issues. Testo’s products ensure that the technology transporting and storing the vaccines is running exactly how it should be, so that there is no possibility of extraneous errors when a vaccine produces adverse effects.Testo develops solutions that ensure safe and effective vaccine rollout. Contact the Testo New Zealand team today for more information.