Vaccine Monitoring and What You Need to Know

Vaccine monitoring and temperature recording is critical to ensuring medicines are stored correctly. This is everything you need to know

Vaccine monitoring and temperature recording are critical to best practice vaccine storage. Medicines must be kept within the cold chain temperature range of +2⁰C to +8⁰C or they risk becoming damaged beyond the point of use.

Healthcare practitioners therefore need to monitor and record vaccine temperatures at least once per day and react instantly if temperatures have fallen outside of the cold chain range. Below, we outline how to effectively monitor vaccines.

Ensure vaccines are stored in a medical fridge

It goes without saying that vaccines must be stored in a dedicated medical fridge. Vaccines should be kept 1cm apart and make sure vaccines do not touch the back of the fridge as this can lead to freezing. Medical fridges should never be more than 75% full, either.

Most medical fridges will be fitted with an alarm that will sound if the temperature falls outside of the cold chain range, allowing practitioners to react instantly. This is usually caused by a door being left open accidentally, but things like power cuts and technical failures can also occur.

High-tech thermometers can aid vaccine monitoring

As standard, medical fridges are fitted with state-of-the-art thermometers that monitor temperatures inside the fridge with incredible accuracy. As an optional extra, fridges can also be fitted with high-tech thermometers that monitor the temperature of the vaccine itself.

For example, the EL-WiFi Vac measures the temperature of a probe sunk into a glycol bottle, which mimics a vaccine. This is then placed inside the fridge, allowing practitioners to monitor the temperature of both the inside of the fridge and the vaccine itself. 

The thermometer is hooked up to a monitoring device that connects to the WiFi, allowing the probe to automatically send temperature data to the monitoring device which can then be accessed via PC or a compatible smartphone or tablet.

How to monitor and log vaccine temperatures:

The task of vaccine monitoring and temperature logging should be given to an experienced and trained member of the team. They will be responsible for monitoring temperatures daily and also recording temperatures in a dedicated log.

When it comes to temperature monitoring, they must follow the four Rs – read, record, reset and react. So they must read and record the temperature and sign their name against the entry in the log. Recording should be logged for current, min and max temperature. 

Once the recording has been made, they must reset the thermometer. Of course, if the log shows that that temperature is currently out of the cold chain range, or has fallen out of it at some point during the day, they must react to ensure the cold chain is restored.   

Vaccine monitoring with a data logger:

If you use a high-tech thermometer that is hooked up to a data logging device, such as the EL-WiFi Vac mentioned above, temperature readings will be logged and stored automatically. That said, you must still read and monitor the data being sent each day. 

This is to make sure that temperatures have not fallen outside of the cold chain. Best practice is to monitor the data logger at the same time the standard thermometer fitted to the medical fridge is read, recorded and reset. This way you can be certain temperatures remain within the cold chain.

By following the above steps and procedures you can be sure that vaccines remain in the cold chain and are safe to administer to patients. If you have any questions about vaccine monitoring and the medical fridges and thermometers that can be used, contact the CoolMed team here.