Safe Storage and Handling Practices
Having the proper refrigeration equipment is the first important step to ensuring product safety and efficiency at your facility. You also need to have appropriate vaccine storage and handling practices and procedures in place. By doing so you can maintain vaccine quality and potency and also minimize waste.
Here are some important practices to include as part of your safe storage and handling:
1) Provincially funded vaccines must be kept refrigerated between +2 C and +8 C at all times in order to retain their potency and to be effective.
2) Strive to maintain vaccine refrigerator temperature at +5 C, as this gives a greater leeway for protection from temperature fluctuation.
3) The internal refrigerator temperatures must be stabilized between +2 to +8 C for a recommended period of 7 consecutive days prior to stocking vaccines.
Proper Refrigerator Organization
Ensuring your refrigerator is properly organized can make all the difference in maintaining an efficient cold chain supply solution. The following pointers are some important and helpful tips in order to ensure safe handling practices for vaccine program and biomedical/pharmaceutical settings.
- Vaccines should be away from the refrigerator walls, floors and cold-air vents. If vaccines are kept against refrigerator walls, floors and cold air vents it increases the risk of exposing vaccines to temperatures below +2C.
- Vaccine packages should always have a little space between them to allow for air circulation. Avoid tightly packing and stacking the packages.
- Organize vaccines by products. Place vaccines of the same type together.
- Check vaccine expiry dates regularly and after every vaccine order. Remember whatever has come in first should always be the first to go. Remember the acronym FIFO *(First In First Out).
- Vaccine expiry dates should always be checked before use. If expired, return them right away to vaccine supply source.
- Vaccine refrigerators must always and only be dedicated for the storage of vaccines. Food, beverages or other none medical related products should not be stored in vaccine storage units because this practice results in frequent door openings and destabilization of the temperature.
- In instances when the refrigerator is storing very few vaccine packages, place a few full water bottles through out the unit which helps maintain an even, stable temperature.
- VACCINES SHOULD NEVER BE STORED IN THE DOOR OF THE REFRIGERATOR.
- VACCINES SHOULD BE STORED IN THE REFRIGERATOR IN ITS ORIGINAL PACKAGING.