We all have seen, heard about, or experienced vaccine failures. Could our office refrigerators be partly at fault? Refrigerated vaccines must be stored between 2°C and 8°C (35°F and 46°F). Temperature excursions can damage potency or result in shortened shelf life. And we’re not talking about chump change here. Many private pediatric practices have more than $100,000 worth of vaccine in a single refrigerator according to a survey published in Pediatrics. How much do you know about storing this precious cargo?
Your nurse tells you that some vaccines stored on the top shelf, where the cold air is pumped into the refrigerator, look frozen.
1. You tell her to:
A. Put the vaccines on a lower shelf and call the manufacturer to find out what you should do.
B. Remove the vaccines from the refrigerator, throw them out, and write off the loss.
C. Thaw the vaccine vials in warm water and try to use them within 8 hours.
D. None of the above
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Coleman MS, Lindley MC, Ekong J, Rodewald L. Net financial gain or loss from vaccination in pediatric medical practices. Pediatrics. 2009;124:S472-S491.
McColloster P, Vallbona C. Graphic-output data loggers for monitoring vaccine refrigeration: implications for pertussis. Am J Public Health 2011;101:46-47.