If you’re a medical professional offering vaccination service, you probably need suitable equipment to store and handle your vaccines. According to the national guidelines, using household refrigerators are forbidden for vaccine storage because they do not have the proper temperature controls needed to properly store vaccines. Moreover, many freezer and refrigerator combinations circulate air from the freezer to the fridge, which can freeze the vaccines.
That said, you require vaccine fridges to properly store and handle vaccines. To help you purchase the correct model, here are some considerations you need to take note of.
The first consideration is temperature. As per the National Vaccine Storage Guidelines, vaccine holders must place the doses within a container that can hold temperatures between the +2°C and +8°C range. Any storage container with temperatures outside the recommended range increases the risk of destroying the vaccine.
As such, when buying a vaccine fridge, be sure to consider temperature controls. Models with analogue temperature controls are not entirely reliable because they make it harder to accurately monitor the temperature required to keep the vaccines safe.
Here are the elements of temperature control you need to look for when shopping for vaccine fridges:
- Microprocessor (aka Electronic Control): This digital control allows you to keep optimal storage conditions.
- Temperature Range: This shows you the temperature inside the fridge. The unit, therefore, needs to have a consistent range between +2°C and +8°C.
- Display: The controls should have an easily readable display that specifies the current temperature in addition to the minimum and maximum measurements the model is capable of. This feature allows you to conveniently check on the temperature levels in your fridge to ensure the quality of your vaccines.
- Defrosting: Should the temperature exceed the recommended range, the vaccine fridge should be able to automatically defrost its contents to recover optimum temperature.
Another important consideration is the fridge’s capacity. Depending on the available space you have in your laboratory or clinic and the number of vaccines you must store at a given timeframe, the capacity requirements of your fridge may vary.
When determining the necessary size for your fridge, you need to consider the measurement of your vaccine containers and their quantity. The proper capacity should fit all your vaccines inside the fridge while keeping them two to three inches away from the fridge wall. This space keeps the vaccines at the required temperature and promotes proper air circulation inside the container.
Besides the internal features, the best vaccine fridge should also have safety features to overcome potential issues such as power outages and temperature fluctuations. To prevent damaging the vaccines when issues arise, the fridge must have the following safety features:
- Data Logging: As part of the temperature control feature, the fridge should automatically log the temperatures to help you track temperature fluctuations.
- Alarm Systems: The alarm should include a power failure alert, temperature sensor, open door alert, and notification system integration to inform you immediately should a problem occur.
- Locking Doors: The fridge should also feature a locking mechanism to avoid accidentally leaving the door ajar and unauthorised access. This is necessary to actually ensure the safety of its contents.
In a time where vaccines are most important, taking care of them has never been more crucial. With these considerations in mind, you are better able to find the fridge you need to keep your vaccines in good condition.