Flu season is now upon us and healthcare practitioners across the country will be hard at work administering the influenza vaccine to patients.
Due to the increased demand for the flu vaccine during this time, it is likely that GPs and other medical facilities will need to drastically increase the number of vaccines they stock. In the 20/21 flu season, more than 19 million adults and children were provided with the vaccine for flu in the UK.
To accommodate this increased volume of stock, healthcare practitioners will need to increase their storage capacity. To achieve this, new medical refrigerators will either need to be bought, or brought from storage.
The storage of medical vaccines in a medical grade refrigerator is of the utmost importance, but the proper storage of these vaccines is equally important too. This will help to ensure that vaccines do not become spoiled and can be administered to patients safely.
If they are not stored properly, not only can vaccines become unusable, but it can also be extremely costly to replace each vaccine too.
To ensure the proper storage of all your flu vaccines, and vaccines in the future, follow our quick tips below.
Use a Dedicated Medical Fridge
All healthcare professionals within the medical industry know flu vaccines must be stored in a specialist medical fridge rather than a domestic fridge. The reason for this is that a traditional household fridge is simply not designed to withstand the acute temperature range vaccines must be kept at, at all times.
Medical fridges ensure that vaccines are kept in their cold-chain conditions, between +2oC and +8oC, which helps to keep them in optimum conditions so they are safe to administer to your patients.
Vaccine fridges are also equipped with other additional benefits such as alarms that alert staff if the fridge temperature falls below, or rises above the cold-chain temperature range. In turn, this helps staff to resolve any issues quickly and efficiently.
Most medical fridges are also designed with either a solid or glass door. A solid door provides additional security and protection from light damage. Alternatively, a glass door allows medical staff to easily see inside without needing to open the fridge door and risk the quality of the vaccines.
Finally, dedicated medical fridges come fitted with locks as standard which will help to keep your flu vaccines safe and secure, and prevent any unauthorised access.
Ensure that Vaccines are Stored Correctly
Although it is essential to use a dedicated medical fridge, it is also just as important to stock it properly as well.
When stocking a medical fridge with flu vaccines it is important to make sure that vaccines are kept in their original packaging to reduce their risk of light damage. If vaccines do come into contact with natural light, they can risk losing their potency and effectiveness, and thus become unusable.
Regarding their placement, vaccines should not touch the back wall of your medical fridge, and a 1cm gap should be left between each vial. This helps to manage the temperature inside the fridge and keeps vaccines between the required range of +2oC and +8oC.
Not storing vaccines in this way can lead to freezing and an uneven distribution of the internal temperature.
Finally, it is best not to overload a medical fridge with flu vaccines. At CoolMed, we recommend not filling your medical fridge to more than 75% capacity at any given time.
Again, this is to ensure the required temperature range is met and that vaccines are not knocked over when a member of staff removes one from the fridge.
Temperature Monitoring is an Absolute Must
It is critical that the temperature of the medical fridge containing flu vaccines is monitored and recorded daily and that any falls or rises in temperature are investigated.
Temperature logging should take place first thing in the morning and last thing at night, with the temperature recorded in a dedicated ledger. The thermometer must then be reset after each temperature recording.
The task of logging should be given to a senior member, or members, of the team due to the important nature of making sure the internal temperature of the fridge remains between +2oC and +8oC.
Contact One of Our Team
By following these steps, medical practices and practitioners can ensure that flu vaccines are being stored correctly during what is undoubtedly one of the busiest times of the year.
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