COVID19 vaccinations are now in the administration phase, so healthcare providers worldwide are actively stocking the vaccines.
If you are an owner of a healthcare facility and have the plan for administering COVID19 vaccines to people but do not have the right coad storage facility, it is time to think about investing in the right freezer to store the vaccines.
The vaccines require freezing storage temperatures, as low as -80 degrees C, which calls for the usage of an ultra-low temperatures freezer to store the vaccines.
Your laboratory needs to have the proper storage and monitoring equipment to store the vaccines. You should ensure the proper maintenance of your cold storage unit so that it functions properly.
The right cold storage facility will protect people from receiving compromised vaccines and prevent your facility from the costs of replacing the damaged vaccine stock and revaccination.
The Centres for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended proper storage guidelines for storing COVID19 vaccines. It will help if you acquaint yourself with the recommendations before you proceed to purchase a cold storage unit to store COVID19 vaccines.
For storing COVID19 vaccines effectively, CDC recommends:
Using Purpose-Built or Pharmaceutical-Grade Units
These cold storage units can either refrigerate or freeze. The units can be compact, under-the-counter, or large. The purpose-built units are also called pharmaceutical grade freezers, which are meant to store biologics, including vaccines.
These cold storage units come with a microprocessor-based temperature control system with a digital temperature sensor. They also have a fan-forced air circulation system with powerful fans or multiple cool air vents to provide uniform temperature and fast temperature recovery when the temperature goes out-of-the-range.
Store Vaccines in their Original Packaging
You should store the vaccines in their original packaging, and make sure you close the lids tightly until administration to people.
Loose packaging can expose the vaccines to unnecessary light, which might reduce the vaccines’ potency. And do not fall behind in following the manufacturer’s guidance for vaccine storage.
Record Temperatures Daily
Check and record the freezer’s temperature at the start of each workday and the end of the day.
Temperature Excursion Handling
Temperature excursions mean the temperature going out of the set range. It requires immediate corrective action.
The CDC recommends that in the event of a temperature excursion, the staff member who hears the alarm signal should notify the vaccine coordinator. Subsequently, a staff member should put a label stating–” Do Not Use”–on the exposed vaccines and place them in a separate container.
How to Choose an Ultra-Low Temperature Freezer?
An ultra-low temperature freezer is a must-have cold storage unit in your laboratory to store COVID19 vaccines. But, the units do not come cheap. They entail substantial expenditure. Therefore, you should refrain from purchasing in haste but spend some time assessing the right unit for your laboratory.
So, evaluate your prospective unit’s:
It is your priority when it comes to choosing an ultra-low temperature freezer. The priority arises due to the need for maintaining the potency of the vaccines.
You must choose a freezer that can give you the confidence to maintain the internal temperature to preserve your vaccine stock effectively. The freezer must be able to control the internal temperature strictly.
Besides, the freezer should be at the set temperature uniformly.
In every freezer, you will find locations within the cabinet that are warmer or colder than the average. Therefore, choose a freezer that minimizes the temperature spread, which is also called peak variation.
Freezers with minimal peak variation can provide uniform and stable temperatures inside the unit. These factors are crucial to ensuring samples do not repeatedly thaw and freeze when the freezer door opens and closes.
Reliability is all about maintaining sample integrity. You can maintain the integrity of your stored items only when the unit is reliable.
Another thing to look at in your prospective freezer is its compressor. Bear in mind that all compressors are not the same.
You should go for a compressor with V-drive technology, an advanced technology that makes the system more efficient.
To understand its working mechanism, let us imagine running a car engine, which accelerates and decelerates in response to the usage and the environment.
The working mechanism of a V-drive technology-based compressor is somewhat similar to a car engine. The compressor speeds up and slows down in response to the temperature requirements. The advantage is that it reduces the stress on the system and extends the compressor’s life.
Check the ease-of-use, which is a critical factor while selecting an ultra-low temperature freezer. Look for temperature monitoring and control features, like remote monitoring, which reduces the risk of undetected malfunctions during off-hours, storms, or other natural events that could put your samples at risk.
Look for a unit with LED indicators to display the internal temperature as it helps minimize errors when checking and reporting temperature status.
With COVID19 vaccinations worldwide, you cannot escape investing in an ultra-low temperature freezer if you want your laboratory to participate in the vaccination drive—all you need to choose the right freezer with the help of the ideas outlined in this article.