A recent study by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS OIG) uncovered that providers generally did not meet vaccine management requirements nor maintain required documentation. As a result of the study, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued new recommendations for the storage and handling of temperature-sensitive vaccines.
When the HHS OIG report was released in June, 2012, ABC News published the story on the evening news, creating higher awareness of vaccine storage issues among the general public.
To help mitigate vaccine storage risks, the new Interim Guidance from the CDC focuses on five key recommendations:
- Use of biosafe glycol-encased probes or similar temperature-buffered probes to measure temperatures within refrigeration units rather than measurement of ambient air temperature.
- Use of digital data loggers with detachable probes that record and store temperature information at frequent programmable intervals for 24-hour temperature monitoring.
- Use of stand-alone refrigerator and stand-alone freezer units for vaccine storage rather than combination units.
- Discontinuing the use of dorm-style or bar-style refrigerator/freezers for ANY vaccine storage.
- Weekly review of vaccine expiration dates and rotation of vaccine stock.
Our own independent study confirms the need for automated temperature monitoring to protect valuable vaccines, pharmaceuticals and other temperature-sensitive medical supplies. More than 75 percent of the Facility, EC and Compliance Managers at hospitals and healthcare facilities polled feel that manual monitoring will cause a regulatory compliance issue in the next two years.
With so much at stake – and now new government guidelines in place – can you afford to take chances with the storage temperatures of your valuable vaccines?