Alex Evans, PharmD, CGP, from Pharmaceutical Compliance gives us a behind the scenes look into the importance of vaccine storage temperatures and how they affect vaccine and medication potency. Not only does he provide us resources and anecdotes from previous research studies, he also offers his hands-on experiences and challenges with maintaining proper vaccine and medication storage temperatures. A summary of each topic is below along with a link to read more.
Vaccine & Medication Degradation
The cold chain protects the most valuable inventory in your pharmacy and there is significant data to support the susceptibility of a wide range of medications exposed to out of range temperatures when the cold chain is broken. In addition, dispensing medications that have been stored outside recommended temperatures and without manufacturer data to support their stability is not only unsafe but can pose a liability risk to the pharmacy as well.
Appropriate Temperature Monitoring Devices
The temperature monitoring device (TMD) being used to ensure the viability of the refrigerated and frozen vaccines and medications stored in the pharmacy is an often-overlooked area. Unfortunately, inaccuracy can lead to the administration or dispensing of medications that have been stored outside of recommended temperatures.
Alex personally recommends having two TMDs per refrigerator (CDC recommends just one for the facility as a backup). It is a minimal additional cost (especially compared to the cost of all the medications and vaccines being stored in the refrigerator).
Other Blogs You Might Be Interested In...
- How Storage Temperature Impacts Vaccine Degradation
- Mechanisms of Vaccine and Refrigerated Medication Degradation
- Important considerations in choosing a refrigerator/freezer temperature monitoring device
- Reducing Risk Related to Improper Vaccine Storage
- Where to Properly Place a Temperature Probe in Your Vaccine Refrigerator
Understanding Medical-grade Refrigeration
An often neglected but extremely important part of the pharmacy is the medical-grade refrigerator. It is used to store your vaccines and refrigerated medications and has a lot on its plate: if it goes down, or even fluctuates by a few extra degrees, the pharmacy could lose thousands.
The refrigerator is an investment and it is there to protect medications that cost much more than the refrigerator ever will. If your pharmacy loses even a couple boxes of Prevnar or Humira to an excursion from a home model the medical-grade refrigerator would have already paid for itself. Medical-grade refrigerators are purpose-built for the storage of medications and come with numerous features not available in consumer models. In addition, there are a lot of sizes available to fit your needs. Every pharmacy, clinic, and lab should invest in one. Not only is your revenue at stake, but so is patient safety.
Download Our Ultimate Guide to Vaccine Storage
For more information on how to properly store and monitor your vaccines in accordance with CDC Guidelines, download our Ultimate Guide to Vaccine Storage.