Every year, around 19.4 million people do not get access to basic immunization and about 2-3 million children die from diseases that are vaccine-preventable. As per the studies, the main reason behind such a big figure is the inability to the sustainability of vaccines at the desired temperature.
It’s hard to maintain the desired temperature in the last miles journey of vaccines, which results in losing its potency. Vaccines may adversely affect or may even turn useless if these are not maintained at the right temperature label.
Especially in the case of pandemics, vaccines are quintessential. But if it doesn’t get the right temperature then it loses its effectiveness. Then how can we save and keep their potency intact?
It’s all about monitoring! Proper monitoring can save vaccines and also billions of dollars invested by the manufacturers in them. Here the importance of temperature monitoring gets the spotlight!
So, why is it important? Why should you have a proper monitoring process for the storage of vaccines? In this space, you will get to know all answers related to these queries. Read till the end!
Storage with extreme care- An important step in monitoring
For regular storage needs and for emergencies, there should be written procedures available to the healthcare facilities and crew members. Storage is important but what precautions should be taken and in what manner is also the point to contemplate.
Here the staff should have been trained in the following aspects!
- Proper vaccine storage procedures
- Ordering and acceptance of vaccine deliveries
- Buying the right storage units as per the right storage temperature required for vaccines
- Protocols for the handling of every compromised vaccine
- Maintaining the stock levels of vaccines
- Proper usage of temperature monitoring unit or equipment
- Protocols for emergencies
The ineffectiveness of vaccines is certainly not because of one reason. There may be many reasons for the same. If vaccines are left unrefrigerated that may impact the potency of the vaccine and leave a detrimental impact on it. Power outages, natural disasters, leaving vaccines unrefrigerated and many other aspects may prove detrimental to the vaccine potency.
Besides this, if the wrong temperature is set to store vaccines then this human error will also lead to wastage. That’s the major reason that storage must be done with extreme care and all staff members are required to be trained for everything.
The custodial and security staff both needs to know about correct procedures during every regular storage and while emergencies as well.
How monitoring can be helpful and why is it so important?
Monitoring is necessary to fulfill the purpose. Without it, it’s quite daunting to maintain the desired temperature always! But some organizations overlook quality and try to save the cost, which may result in more wastage and less effective vaccines. Here we have compiled the reasons why should monitoring be an essential part of cold chain units. Know the reasons!
- Storage plans of vaccines
An emergency plan or backup plan serves the best purpose in storing systematically. It helps to deal the urgent situations and makes handling & storage of vaccines super easy for pharmaceutical companies.
These storage emergency plans should be known to all staff members so that they can implement them at any moment when the need arises. Even the backup location for storage should be there like it can be a pharmacy or a local hospital so that the effectiveness of vaccines can be maintained even during emergencies.
In case, there’s a need to relocate vaccines in emergency situations then proper monitoring will help in identifying such situations and making plans accordingly. In such circumstances, the extra supplies of coolers, cold packs, vaccine carrier box, etc. can be helpful.
Monitoring consists of making strategies to cope with emergency situations with the rules adhering to emergency protocols set by individual state policies.
The complete guidelines related to vaccine storage & transportation along with their backup plans should be clear & accessible to the whole staff.
- Availing sufficient cold storage units
One of the major challenges faced in vaccine temperature maintenance is the unavailability of cold storage units. Insufficient carriers or units for vaccine supply are one the major reasons for lacking enough vaccine coverage.
Even if the storage units are available but lack of some factors such as insufficient efficiency to carry vaccines, lack of power supply, and many other reasons halt the process of availing vaccines at the right place at right time.
From time to time, we need to maintain cold chains so that the vaccine quality doesn’t deteriorate in any term. The maintenance needs are needed to be fulfilled. Under monitoring, maintenance needs are kept under consideration so that vaccines remain in a good position all the time.
The internal temperature of cold chains gets affected in case the doors are accidentally opened or have not been sealed properly. A small leak can cause a drastic change in temperature levels that may even take hours to get back to the desired temperature.
The door contacts are required to be monitored that ensures doors are properly sealed or not, otherwise, it may alter temperature and thereby cause ineffectiveness in vaccines. It’s essential to maintain the right temperature inside for the protection of the integrity of vaccines that are stored inside the unit.
Monitoring helps in maintaining the desired temperature in cold chains for protecting vaccines from any harm. Refrigerators and freezers need to be checked & monitored even twice a day regularly. ZedBlox provides proper access to frequent updates regarding temperature so that it can be maintained in any situation.
A proper plan is essential to keep temperature intact otherwise it will impact the cold chain adversely. An excellent monitoring routine needs proper planning and implementation on daily basis.
How does temperature monitoring in cold chains?
In cold chains, the temperature must be monitored and maintained at the desired levels. There are many temperature monitoring devices/equipment that needs to be chosen as per the requirement so that they can maintain the temperature at any level required.
Constant monitoring devices
The monitoring devices give detailed information about the duration and everything related to the temperature of cold chains. This comprehensive information is captured at specific times at all temperatures. Constant or continuous monitoring devices are meant for this purpose. Here are some points that these devices must have!
- The monitoring of temperature needs a digital display for viewing temperatures. It will make the team know about the exact status whenever they want.
- The device must have long and short-term readings of temperatures.
- The device must contain a warning mechanism to warn if temperatures are not falling into the recommended range.
Alarms are essential in monitoring devices. Alarms notify the staff in case the storage unit is going through any problems or needs a quick review.
However, if staff is not prompt in action then these alarms are of no use. The vaccine storage needs proper monitoring by the staff members with appropriate equipment and knowledge of emergency protocols. The correct storage devices and vaccine thermometers ensure the efficacy and even safety of the cold chains.
Here training of personnel is a prelude to quick & constant monitoring and timely response to emergency situations. So, cold chain units need to contemplate everything for proper monitoring of storage units.
Digital data loggers
The data loggers record and monitor temperature continually. As desired by the user, data loggers record the temperature at pre-defined intervals. It helps in the instant storing &recording of discrete readings. Even some data loggers allow the users to get the readings downloaded as well with minimum & maximum readings. Here are the features that a digital data logger must compile!
- 4000 (minimum) temperature readings
- A quick warning mechanism
- Programmable interface through a personal computer or a console
Constant monitoring is necessary to avoid any future loss. Monitoring of vaccine temperature helps in knowing any fluctuations in advance and the way to deal with them. Routine maintenance needs quick cleaning of interiors, prevent fungal growth, and keep in check air circulation, door sealing, and all those aspects that may impact the temperature.
With monitoring services, it’s possible to keep vaccines safe and effective. It ensures the internal temperature remains within the desired range for maintaining the potency and efficacy of vaccine stock.