The supply chain and storage of vaccines has always been key to a successful rollout. This is true now more than ever and knowing the storage guidelines is crucial. Luckily, “strive for 5” helps simplify and explain these extremely valuable guidelines.
What does “Strive for 5” Mean”?
The phrase “strive for 5” refers to the perfect storage temperature of 5°C. While this is the ideal storage temperature for vaccines, the acceptable fridge temperature for storage ranges from 2 to 8°C. It should be noted that some vaccines require different storage conditions to this, so it is always best to check the details of the specific vaccines if you are unsure of the storage conditions. This is the recommended temperature due to the potential of vaccines being damaged or destroyed if they are stored in warmer or cooler climates.
The New Zealand Department of Health created the National Vaccine Storage Guidelines in order to standardise the most successful methods. These national guidelines detail how to make sure your clients receive effective vaccinations by maintaining an effective cold chain. A cold chain refers to how the supply and shipping chain keeps products or vaccines at the optimal temperature from their point of origin through to their final destination. The guideline also explains what needs to happen should an event occur that results in the cold chain being broken.
In order to maximise vaccine management across the nation, New Zealand has passed several laws on vaccine storage that must be followed.
Why are Vaccine Storage Guidelines so Important?
To conserve the immunisation of a vaccine, from the time of its manufacture all the way through to its administration, the vaccine must be carefully stored at 2 to 8°C. This is vital as poorly managed vaccines can have extremely dangerous consequences. As a result of being stored in less than ideal climates, the stability and potency of the vaccines suffer. If there is a breach in the cold chain, these steps need to be followed.
- Ensure that the affected vaccines are isolated and labelled with a sign that signals that the vaccines should not be used.
- Move the impacted vaccines to a temporary storage area with ice or gel packs.
- Contact your state or territory health department.
- Don’t throw away vaccines until instructed to do so
New Zealand immunisation service providers, especially those who have been tasked with administering vaccines to protect against COVID-19, strive to prevent and destroy dangerous diseases. Proper storage is a key part of this, and the mismanagement of the cold chain results in wasted vaccines and loss of financial capital. Not only does it result in having to throw away damaged and unusable vaccines, clients of medical practises, large hospitals, clinics, or mobile services may have to be re-vaccinated. This means that there is not only product being wasted but can also lead to uncertainty developing for patients.
The more effective storage precautions healthcare providers take, the higher the immune responses of their clients and stronger the community’s protection will be against dangerous and potentially deadly diseases. New Zealand vaccine storage laws mandate that the product is protected from light too. This is because UV and fluorescent light encourage an increasing lack of vaccine potency.
To assist in maintaining correct procedures, every 12 months a vaccine storage self-audit must be performed by immunisation providers. The checklist can be found in the National Storage Guidelines and includes:
- The nominated person responsible for vaccine management
- The nominated back-up person for vaccine management
- Make and model of refrigerator
- Date of self-audit
- Person conducting audit
Testo’s Solutions for Vaccine Management
The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of the importance of cold chain management for the transport and storage of vaccines. For over 20 years, Testo has made reliable and effective storage equipment and temperature monitoring devices for pharmaceutical companies. Optimal storage of vaccines and prevention of temperature fluctuations is possible through Testo’s cold chain solutions.
Environmental and temperature monitoring in refrigerators and freezers is a necessity to maintain vaccine efficacy. Testo offers industry-leading solutions in both equipment and software to manage and document temperature and data. Here are two products that offer temperature-controlled storage/monitoring solutions.
- Testo Saveris 2: WLAN data logger with an alarm function that alerts when limit values have been violated.
- Testo 184 transport data logger series: The series offers complete monitoring of the cold chain monitoring temperature, humidity, and shock for maximum data security.
Sustaining an effective cold chain can be the difference between a healthy community and a vulnerable one. From regular yearly vaccinations to the new COVID-19 vaccine, remember… strive for 5. From the point of origin all the way through to the time of administration. Testo has the equipment and software to ensure the safe storage of these life-saving vaccines. Reach out to the experts at Testo NZ today to find out which products will be best for your specific needs.