Strive for 5 is the published initiative from the Australian State and Territory Government, concerning vaccine storage guidelines. The contents of this document involve vaccine management through the use of refrigerators. Strive for 5 is a comprehensive, user-friendly and a must-have manual for all health practitioners in Australia.
It is prudent for health professionals to be familiar with vaccine management protocols about preventing spoilage of vaccines due to exposure to low temperatures. Vaccine refrigerators are designed to condition the vaccines within the optimum temperatures. There are various types of vaccine refrigerators; domestic, purpose-built, portable and blood refrigerators.
Purpose-built vaccine refrigerators are supposed to counter any breach of cold or hot conditions. The principles of vaccine storage management entail sound policies, responsible and skilled staff, warehouse audits, temperature monitoring and pro-active response mechanisms for any breach to safeguard the vaccines.
Procurement of the correct refrigerator must be informed by proper consideration of factors such as its size, space of the storage facility, and back-up in case of a power outage as well as stockpiling of ice packs and gel. Furthermore, it is imperative to choose a refrigerator that has a self-monitoring mechanism, an alarm system both for remote sensing or automatic telephone dial as well as sound alarm in case the door is left open. Last but not least, it should have an inbuilt temperature recording system to read both maximum and minimum temperatures.
Vaccine refrigerators should be used with proper care. Temperatures should be monitored regularly and noted every day. Only a qualified service provider should be granted access to the storage. Moreover, you should not take out any vaccine unless you are sure it is the right one. Any breakdown on the Vaccine refrigerator must be immediately reported it is noticed. Nonetheless, all vaccine refrigerators should be serviced annually to ensure it is running as required. All refrigerators under repairs or service should be emptied to avoid contamination of the vaccines. The transfer must also be monitored to ensure the temperatures are not flouted and tamper with the vaccines. All leaks must be reported as well as exposed wires or coils at the back of the refrigerator.
There are many vital and useful pieces of information in the handbook. You can download the pdf by visiting their website here;
Below is an extract from the handbook in relation to storage management:
IMPORTANCE OF VACCINE STORAGE MANAGEMENT
There are six important points to consider regarding vaccine storage management
- It is imperative for health professionals to take their responsibility of ensuring that clients receive effective health products. This means that vaccines should not be affected by heat or cold.
- Vaccines are too costly and can be inadequate as compared to their demand. The total monetary value of the vaccines contained within one vaccine refrigerator can be significant.
- The right vaccine management does not mean clients have to be revaccinated: these are those customers who might have received an ineffective vaccine due to poor vaccine storage management.
- Cold chain breaches in a vaccine refrigerator can take place as a result of technical malfunctions notwithstanding the well-designed and well-managed refrigeration systems. The condition here is that provided adequate procedures be put in place; problems will be detected and addressed in time before an ineffective vaccine is administered.
- The most reliable and reassuring measure of an efficient immunization service provider is the ability to undertake effective vaccine storage management.
- Any exposure of vaccines to heat or freezing temperatures has a cumulative effect on the viability of a vaccine.
© 2016 Commonwealth of Australia as represented by the Department of Health