Compliance Series: Vaccines for Children
Navigating through VFC vaccine storage requirements, documentation and record keeping is no easy task. This article will provide the best practices on how to properly adhere to guidelines and highlight technological solutions that can help make your staff’s lives easier when adhering to compliance guidelines.
On the most basic level, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides vaccines for children of eligible families at no cost to help prevent the spread of disease. But complying with VFC can feel anything but basic.
Navigating through VFC vaccine storage requirements, documentation and record keeping is no easy task. And how VFC providers comply with VFC vaccine storage requirements is important, not only because it ensures that VFC-eligible children receive viable and properly handled vaccines, but also because failing to comply can lead to serious consequences for your facility.
The Primex OneVue solution is a valuable tool that can help facilities monitor, document and report facility performance to ensure you are meeting requirements and mitigating errors while keeping up with VFC vaccine storage requirements. Here, we explore what your facility needs to know about compliance, and how our solution can help.
VFC Vaccine Storage Requirements
Each year, storage and handling errors of vaccines occur at facilities around the country. These slip-ups can lead to a wide range of issues including reducing vaccine potency or the need to revaccinate, which can lead to wasting numbers of vaccinations due to lack of oversight.
Understanding the best practices for VFC requirements linked to storage and proper documentation and record keeping will give you a leg up when it comes to compliance to ensure you’re doing everything you can to help prevent the spread of disease.
Regulating Temperature and Monitoring Exposing vaccines to unsuitable conditions can decrease the potency of refrigerated vaccines. By following CDC-recommended storage and handling procedures along with more specific guidelines created on a state-by-state level, providers can ensure patients receive high-quality vaccines that have not been compromised.
To adhere to VFC storage requirements, facilities must have proper storage and monitoring equipment set up and maintained. Installing temperature monitoring equipment in the facility will ensure that vaccines are adequately refrigerated, protecting your vaccines.
The Primex OneVue suite, including the OneVue Sense remote temperature monitoring solution, provides electronic temperature monitoring and data logging to help you keep your vaccines protected. Paired with the OneVue Monitor solution, your facility can keep data and reports so that you may demonstrate compliance.
Best Practices for Storage and Handling
To ensure vaccines have proper storage and to mitigate risks involved with administration errors, the CDC has put forth some best practices for correctly storing and handling vaccines. States generally reference these requirements but you should always consult your local authority for any changes or additional regulations.
- Conduct routine maintenance for all vaccine storage units and related equipment so that your equipment functions at maximum efficiency.
- Vaccines with the shortest expiration dates are placed in front of those with longer expiration dates.
- Vaccines are stored in the center of the refrigerator unit, away from any cold air vents and away from the wall, and are not stored in refrigerator or freezer doors, nor on the top shelf or the floor of the unit, nor in refrigerator drawers.
- Avoid placing or storing any items other than vaccines, diluents and water bottles inside storage units.
- If other medications and biological products must be stored in the same unit as vaccines, they must be clearly marked and stored in separate containers or bins from vaccines.
How Long Do You Need to Keep VFC Records?
Under the VFC program, facilities should maintain the following records for a minimum of three years:
- Patient eligibility screening records.
- Patient immunization administration logs.
- Vaccine temperature logs.
- VFC doses administered.
Facilities should accurately record and store temperature information to ensure vaccine viability. Keeping these data for three years allows for the analyzing of long-term trends and/or recurring issues. The CDC recommends facilities use a temperature monitoring device in each vaccine storage unit and each transport unit that is equipped with a detachable probe to reflect vaccine temperatures, alarms for out-of-range-temperatures, and a low-battery indicator.
Recordkeeping Made Easy
Because of the strict guidelines surrounding the VFC program, your facility demands a monitoring system that can help assist staff and make easily accessible reports that verify storage conditions and time tracking of when vaccines are administered.
With help of the OneVue Monitor solution from Primex, you can ensure your facility is keeping the monitoring data and reports you need to adhere to the VFC regulations. Pre-programmed event codes and the ability to log alert responses — including the date of first use for temperature probes and probe replacement — in the software ensure your information is at the tip of your finger.
Additionally, OneVue Monitor provides an Asset Summary Report that can help keep your vaccine and temperature logs in one place, making it easy to find during audit scenarios. This report collects temperature every 30 minutes and displays two customizable time points of exact temperature (defaults to 12 AM and 12 PM) and shows the daily minimum and maximum temperatures to comply with some state requirements which mandate those records. The electronic signature feature proves that you have reviewed storage unit temperature readings and changes in temperature trends that might require action, helping to keep you in compliance. Monitor stores these records for a minimum of seven years, far exceeding the three-year period mandated by federal VFC guidelines.
The Primex OneVue solution provides the tools you need to maintain compliance with VFC program vaccine storage and record keeping.
Ready to see how OneVue can transform your VFC compliance efforts? Reach out to one of our healthcare experts today.