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4 Vaccine Storage and Handling Mistakes to Avoid

  • by Lauren Levy
  • Aug 31, 2021, 10:11 AM

Today, we are at a point where the public is seeking more information about available vaccines due to the global health crisis. On the other hand, scientists and medical researchers are in a rush to find a cure for the current health crisis, and they hope to find one even as they explore the efficacy of various vaccines.

As the distribution of vaccines worldwide continues, there are growing concerns over the best ways to preserve such precious and much-needed medicine for a considerable period. Indeed, all available vaccines have a shelf-life, and their effectiveness depends on how you store and handle them. Additionally, the demand for vaccines around the world presently is more than the supply.

For that reason, authorities and medical professionals should prioritize proper storage and handling of the vaccines they get. Otherwise, a medical facility can end up with vaccines they cannot use due to poor storage and handling. In that case, doing your due diligence to ensure all vaccines within your facility are effective and available on-demand is critical.

That way, you will not only avoid unnecessary expenses, but you will also help as many people as you can by allowing them to access the vaccines they need. That is not possible if you are guilty of preventable errors in vaccine storage and handling. It is also worth mentioning that the storage and handling guidelines will differ depending on each vaccine variety. Here are some of the vaccine storage and handling mistakes you should avoid.

1.  Maintaining The Wrong Temperature

Most of the vaccines available for dealing with the present pandemic require low temperatures during transportation and storage to remain effective. The problem is that some of these vaccines need to travel long distances to nations and regions where the temperatures are pretty high. As much as that is the case, ensuring that people in such areas have access to such vaccines is not an option.

For that reason, cold chains are doing their best to avail the right environment during the transportation and storage of vaccines. That means that you need to invest in suitable freezers for your medical facility if you want to preserve vaccines for use in the future. Maintaining the wrong temperature means that the vaccines you have within your health facility will not last the intended period.

Also, the effectiveness of any vaccine you should preserve in low temperatures will decline when you store it in a warm or hot environment. You also need to educate your employees on the proper storage and handling of various vaccines. Remember that they are the ones handling vaccines most of the time within your facility.

So, if your workers lack an understanding of the best way to store and handle vaccines requiring low temperatures, your facility can suffer massive losses. As such, educating your health workers and availing the right storage equipment for vaccines is paramount. That way, maintaining the right temperatures for vaccines will not be a problem.

 

2. Failing to Observe Expiration Dates

When unloading a shipment of vaccines, some of them may have different expiration dates. That is something you cannot afford to overlook because it dictates the vaccines you should use first. Note that a vaccine is of no use once it expires, and giving such to a patient is even worse. That explains why proper storage of vaccines should be part of your priorities.

In that case, once you receive a consignment of vaccines for your health facility, the first thing your staff members should do when offloading is to check the expiration date. By doing so, they will be able to identify the vaccines with the soonest expiration date. After that, they should store the vaccines so that those with the soonest expiration date are accessible first.

Your employees should not be checking the expiration date on a particular vaccine only when they need to use it. The reason is that they may be using a vaccine with an older expiration date while the one which expires soon remains in the storage facility. As such, workers in charge of the storage of vaccines should check the expiration date of vaccines immediately they arrive. That will ensure storage or vaccines in the right order, at the right place, and where they are easily accessible.

 

3. Inappropriate Storage

Your employees will probably unpack drugs after receiving them from various manufacturers for storage at designated areas within your medical facility. However, that should not be the case for vaccines. The reason is that most vaccines come with special packaging to preserve the contents. The implication, in this case, is that the storage of vaccines should be in their original packaging.

As such, you should consider adopting CDC toolkit guidelines to ensure the proper storage of vaccines. Note that the current toolkit has a COVID-19 Vaccine Addendum with details on storage and handling best practices for COVID-19 vaccines.

That comes in handy at such a time as this. The reason is that, at the moment, most medical facilities are handling the storage and distribution of various vaccines for dealing with the pandemic. According to the addendum and toolkit information, those participating in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program must handle and store vaccines under proper conditions.

That is a necessity because it maintains the cold chain. Also, the toolkit's update for 2021 clarifies language, including;

•COVID-19 vaccination information.
•Beyond use date (BUD).
•An addition of new definitions to the glossary.
•Vaccine storage units routine maintenance.

 

4. Inadvertently Cutting Storage Units Power Supply

The freezers and refrigerators for storing vaccines within your health facility rely on power. That explains why most medical facilities have backup generators to keep all systems running even when there is a power outage. The only thing is that such an investment should not be the only thing you focus on when it comes to the proper storage of vaccines.

Since you have various workers within your health facility, including janitorial staff, you need to ensure that everyone understands the importance of keeping the power supply to refrigerators and freezers on. It is not unusual to find workers unplugging the power supply to such units on various occasions. Unfortunately, such individuals may take some time before powering the refrigerators and freezers for storing vaccines.

That, in turn, will affect the optimum temperature that various vaccines require, which may reduce their shelf life. Creating the necessary awareness will ensure that those working within your health facility do not inadvertently cut the power supply to vaccine storage units.

 

Conclusion

You cannot recover any vaccine after making the above mistakes. That suggests that you may need to place a new order for vaccines earlier than you expect, which can be expensive in one way or another. Opting for American Biotech Supply ( ABS) products will not only ensure proper storage of vaccines within your medical facility but will also save you unnecessary expenses.

 


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