According to guidelines at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all Vaccines for Children (VFC) suppliers and other health care providers to have tight controls on VFC storage and transportation.
The effects of a vaccine cold chain failure can be costly and dangerous. Improper storage and handling conditions can result in damaged and ineffective vaccines, extra doses for patients, significant monetary loss from a wasted vaccine, and loss of public confidence in vaccines. Your company may also, because of not meeting these guidelines, be issued a citation under public records.
The following seven points summarize packing, storage and handling commendations set forth by the CDC Cold Chain Guidelines, British Columbia Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Guidelines (2007), and the CDC Atlanta Cold Chain Guidelines:
- A validated, insulated container is required, along with temperature monitoring.
- Enough refrigerated and/or frozen gel packs are required to maintain the temperature without freezing the product inside.
- If delivering a product using a personal vehicle, only quantity expected for the ice pack for vaccine is to be used.
- When transporting products in a personal vehicle, you must not place the container in the trunk, nor put it in direct sunlight. Also, do not have the container in direct line with the heater or air conditioning vents of your vehicle.
- When at a facility or office, you should only have the product out of the refrigerator for a brief period.
- Ensure you are rotating your stock regularly.
- Qualified shippers should also be close at hand for storage during transport or emergency power outages.1
These guidelines naturally require both an understanding of the vaccine’s efficacy and full control of your cold chain.
If you are unsure of these controls, Rapid Aid is your partner in helping meet vaccine cold chain regulatory requirements. Rapid Aid Cold Packs and Containers Help Comply with vaccine Shipping and Storage Requirements. The company has a complete line of temperature controlled gel packs, gel blankets, and coolers. For more information, contact us.
1 http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/admin/storage/toolkit/storage-handling-toolkit.pdf also states that “If an Alternative Vaccine Storage Facility is Not Available, if you cannot find an alternative vaccine storage facility with a backup generator within a reasonable distance, or if you cannot reach your alternative facility, you can use qualified containers and pack-outs* to store vaccines temporarily and safely at your facility. Always place a temperature monitoring device with the vaccines. Temporary storage containers should remain closed, and vaccines should only be stored for as long as the qualified containers and pack-outs are validated to maintain proper storage temperatures.