Time to re-check your vaccine storage and handling procedures

By: October 13th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

With the emphasis on both seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines at this time of the year, now is the time to make sure vaccine handling and storage procedures are in line with CDC guidelines and not destroying the effectiveness of these important medications.

An estimated 17%–37% of medical offices expose vaccines to improper storage, according to the CDC. Not following specifications for storage and handling can reduce vaccine potency, resulting in inadequate immune responses in the recipients and inadequate protection against disease.

It’s best to check first with the vaccine manufacturer’s instruction on the package insert and to be familiar with storage and handling procedures of your state health department immunization program. As a general guide, however, the CDC vaccine storage and handling toolkit is a good resource for establishing or reassessing your vaccine storage and handling procedures. Sections of the toolkit address:

  • What is the cold chain?
  • Storage and handling plans
  • Storage equipment
  • Storage practices
  • Temperature monitoring
  • Storage troubleshooting
  • Selected biologicals and vaccines
  • Inventory management
  • Vaccine shipments
  • Preparation and disposal

Download the checklist, excerpted from the toolkit, on the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Tools page to assess how well you manage vaccine preparation and storage in your facility.


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