A Guide to: Monitoring the Temperature of Your Medical Fridge

As of 2020, the NHS spent approximately £1.3 billion on public health, including immunisation medicines every year. Although this is the combined total of multiple different public healthcare services, vaccinations take up a large part of this budget. 

If medications aren’t stored properly and become unusable, a substantial amount of this money is subsequently lost. This is something many healthcare organisations cannot risk as they are already under a tremendous amount of financial pressure. 

Of course, this wastage can be avoided by ensuring vaccines are stored properly in a dedicated medical fridge, and monitored to esnure they are being stored in optimal conditions. 

The Importance of a Medical Fridge

Storing vaccines in a dedicated medical fridge is not only best practice, but a government requirement. These minimum requirements are put in place to ensure that vaccines do not lose their potency and, as already mentioned, do not risk being wasted. 

The primary reason validated vaccine fridges must be used over commercial fridges that are often found in homes, is their ability to create the optimal temperatures for vaccines to remain effective throughout their shelf life. This is otherwise known as the cold-chain. 

What is the Cold-Chain?

As already mentioned, the cold-chain is the specific temperature range vaccines must be stored in, in order to remain usable and effective; it is also the main requirement of any medical fridge. This temperature ranges from +2˚C and +8˚C.
Where the internal temperature of traditional fridges can easily fluctuate in temperature, a medical fridge is designed to remain within this temperature range to ensure the maintained potency of its contents.
If the fridge temperature does happen to fall out of this range, vaccine fridges are equipped with temperature sensitive alarms that will sound if this occurs and alert a healthcare professional to resolve the issue. 

How to Monitor the Temperature of a Medical Refrigerator

Monitoring vaccines is incredibly important to ensure they are consistently stored at the right temperature to avoid becoming damaged.

A medical fridge should be installed with two thermometers. One should be a max/min thermometer and it should not rely on mains power. This is to protect it in case of power cuts and outages. When you receive your medical fridge, make sure that the probe cable for the thermometers do not interfere with the door seal, as this can adversely affect the temperature.

As an added precaution, the UK government also recommends that someone in the practice should be responsible for regularly recording vaccine temperatures. 

These temperature recordings should be done at the same time each day, and they should be written down clearly on a form and signed. After taking down the reading, the nominated person should reset the thermometer.

To have these readings remain as accurate as possible, make sure stock inside the medical fridge is evenly space apart and are not positioned too close to the fridge walls. Too much stock will not all the air inside to distribute equally and result in vaccinations potentially rising above or dropping below their cold-chain temperature. 

Follow Recommended Maintenance Procedures

As well as monitoring the temperature every day, you should also follow the correct maintenance procedures to ensure the vaccines can be monitored effectively.

This includes:

– Keeping the fridge clean

– Have a maintenance contract for annual servicing and calibration

– Carry out a routine review of vaccine management every quarter

– Calibrate the temperature once a month

– Audit the contents of the fridge once a week

– Audit the vaccine stock once a month

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These are the basic procedures you need to follow to ensure your vaccines are always stored at the correct temperature. 

Of course, for all this to be possible, you will need a high-quality medical fridge. Once you have this in place, follow these guidelines to ensure all your vaccines are stored at the correct temperature.

If you’d like to get in touch with us about our industry leading medical fridges, contact us here. medic