Something you might be curious about is why vaccines have unique storage equipment and procedures. Vaccines are usually stored under low temperatures. High temperatures break down vaccines. This can render the vaccines useless. Vaccines are fragile and require proper handling.
They prevent the vaccines from being compromised, eliminate the need for revaccinating patients and vaccine replacement. Proper storage also maintains the reliability of the vaccines. A vaccine Temperature Monitoring Device is used in a vaccine storage unit to give the vaccines’ temperature history. This information is critical to the protection of the vaccines and retention of their potency.
Here is what to consider when choosing a vaccine temperature monitoring device.
1. Continuous monitoring capabilities
An effective temperature monitoring device should be able to monitor and record temperature for an extended period. Continuous monitoring is critical to ensure that the right handling practices are maintained at all times.
The potency and effectiveness of a vaccine cannot be restored once it is. Also, when vaccines are compromised, not all of them show a physical manifestation. There is, therefore, the danger of using useless vaccines. Continuous monitoring will provide accurate information on the state of the vaccine.
From the data collected, officers can identify the vaccines that need to be discarded.
Some level of automation will make the data collection process simple. A vaccine temperature monitoring device that can download temperature records routinely to a computer would be ideal. It will save time and give consistent data for action.
3. A temperature display that can be read from outside the unit
The storage unit should be kept closed as much as possible. This will help in maintaining the temperatures in the storage unit. Note that not only temperature can affect the effectiveness of the vaccine. Light and contamination do, and this can be prevented by minimizing contact.
4. A high memory storage
Data is critical when it comes to vaccine storage and handling. Practitioners need to know the conditions under which the vaccines have been in for a given period. That way, they can determine if the vaccine can be used on patients or should be discarded.
An extensive range of reading increases accuracy. This ensures that they don’t miss any useful information through the storage period. A vaccine temperature monitoring device that can store up to 4000 readings.
5. Programmable logging intervals
If the user can set how often the device can record the temperatures, the better. This makes it easy for the device to work with vaccines with different handling standards. Intervals of every 30 seconds would be ideal and ensure that you don’t miss out on anything.
6. It should have an alarm
While compromised vaccines cannot be restored, damage can be prevented. A vaccine temperature monitoring device with an alarm can help with this. The users can do something if they are alerted on out of range temperature. That way, the users can adjust the temperatures and environment to align with the vaccines’ ideal temperature storage.
7. A low battery indicator
Most vaccine temperature monitoring devices are battery operated. Therefore, it is vital to have batteries on standby for a replacement to ensure that the device is running. Without a low battery indicator, it may be hard for you to know when the battery is running low. There is, therefore, the risk of the storage unit running for an extended time without the temperature being monitored.
The indicator will ensure that the device is in operation at all times for the records’ consistency.
8. Detachable probes buffered with glycol/glass beads/sand
Probes buffered with glycol are ideal. Some vaccine temperature monitoring devices are not encased. This reduces their effectiveness as they are sensitive to even the slightest temperature changes. While in the fridge, the probes can show different temperature readings when there is a change in airflow, which does not necessarily mean a change in vaccine temperature.
A probe with a buffer like glycol will provide more accurate readings. The buffers will provide thermal stability and provide a more precise temperature reading.
The device should meet the accuracy standards set by CDC. The recommended uncertainty for the devices is +/-0 .5° C +/-1° F).
10. Current, minimum, and maximum temperature display
The device should check and record the minimum and maximum temperature of the storage unit. It should also provide data on the current temperature.
Vaccine temperature monitoring devices must be calibrated every two years. The devices drift now and then, and this affects the accuracy of their readings. There is, therefore, the need for recalibration every two years after the last date of calibration.
A calibration certificate ensures that calibration has been done, and it is a guarantee for the accuracy of the device. The calibration certificate should include the model number of the device and the serial number of the device.
Uncertainty of the device should also be included and proof that the instrument has passed testing.
Vaccine temperature monitoring devices that should be avoided
The CDC recommends the ideal vaccine temperature monitoring devices. While there are several types of the same, there are some that CDC does not recommend their use.
They include household mercury monitoring devices and chart recorders are some of the devices. Food, infrared and bi-metal stem temperature monitoring are also not recommended. All devices that have not been calibrated should also not be used in vaccine storage units.
The above devices have different limitations that make them not ideal for vaccine storage units. Some of them lack accuracy, while others are hard to read. Some of the devices also provide limited records, that is, the temperature at the specific time of reading.
Vaccines should be handled with care and as per the recommended standards. The vaccine storage units should have temperature monitoring devices with the highlighted features above. They should be calibrated, have some automation level, high memory storage, alarm, low battery indicator, and thermally buffered probes.
The right devices will protect the vaccines and prevent replacement costs.