How to Comply with CDC Vaccine Storage Temperature Monitoring

Digital data logger for vaccine storage
Digital data logger for vaccine storage

One of the recommendations found in the CDC’s Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit is the use of digital data loggers along with audio and visual alarms to log internal storage temperatures and sound alarms if temperatures fall outside set limits.  Vaccine storage units that otherwise comply with CDC’s high/low temperature alarm recommendations may not be equipped with the all-important ability to record temperature history.  Instead they rely on personnel manually recording internal temperatures twice daily*.

Vaccine Storage Monitoring Options

Temperature Chart Recorders

Automating temperature monitoring can be achieved with the use of temperature chart recorders.  These are attached by wire to temperature sensors placed in glycerin or glycol-filled bottles positioned in the refrigerator or freezer.  The liquid “insulates” the sensor from spikes that occur when the unit’s door is opened to place or retrieve vaccines and other pharmaceuticals or samples. A disadvantage of paper temperature charts is that they must be replaced and by nature must be physically filed and stored for retrieval when needed.

Digital Data Loggers

Temperature chart recorders are being superseded by digital data loggers.  When constructed to CDC requirements data loggers record not only the vaccine refrigeration unit’s internal temperature at the CDC required 15-minute minimum intervals but also activate sound and visual alarms and record the alarm duration.  Data are downloaded from the digital recorder to a USB stick to be transferred to a PC for paperless record keeping.

Available from Tovatech the Norlake ThermAlarm Data Logger with its detachable temperature probe in a glycol-filled bottle meets or exceeds current CDC-compliant vaccine storage and monitoring systems.  Selected examples are shown in the table.

SpecificationCDC RecommendationsThermAlarm Data Logger
Monitor readingEvery 15 minutes1 minute to every 24 hours
Reading memory range4,000525,600
Operating range-20⁰C to 40⁰C-50⁰C to 70⁰C

 Vaccine Temperature Monitoring Device Calibration

From the CDC toolkit: “For measuring vaccine storage unit temperatures, CDC recommends using only calibrated temperature monitoring devices with a Certificate of Traceability and Calibration Testing (also known as Report of Calibration).”

The ThermAlarm Data Logger comes with multi-point calibration on an individually-numbered Traceable® Certificate which assures accuracy from an accredited ISO/IEC 17025:2005 (1750.01) calibration laboratory. It indicates traceability of measurements to the SI units through NIST or other recognized national measurement institutes that are signatories to the CIPM (International Committee of Weights and Measurements) Mutual Recognition Agreement.

Data are transferred to a PC or Mac using a USB flash drive. Each unit has a unique ID allowing multiple units to be used in the same location.

Other ThermAlarm Vaccine Storage Monitoring Features

  • 5 ounce high-impact, chemical-resistant ABS plastic case 2-3/4 x 4-1/4 x 3/4 inches accommodates up to 2 probes
  • Easily read LC display shows set temperature with set minimum and maximum deviation
  • On-off alarm, min/max temperature, date/time, silence alarm, event display, ⁰C or ⁰F
  • Shipped with bottle probe
  • Select either stand alone or Velcro®, magnetic strips, or wall mounting
  • Batteries included

*Special Note:

It should be noted that regardless of equipment used to record temperatures the “CDC recommends that temperatures displayed on the unit are still reviewed and recorded a minimum of 2 times each workday, as well as minimum and maximum temperatures since the last reading, to determine if temperatures are out of range.”

For more information on vaccine storage and handling procedures we invite you to check our post on CDC vaccine refrigeration recommendations along with other links in that post, and to download a copy of the most recent CDC Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit.

Please contact Tovatech’s scientific refrigeration specialists for additional information on the ThermAlarm data logger and for help on selecting refrigerators or freezers to meet your vaccine storage needs.

About Rachel Kohn

So how did an MIT Ph.D. end up selling refrigerators? When I figured out that a lot more scientists buy lab refrigerators than innovative leading-edge instruments. I hope that my many years of lab experience will help you find the right equipment for your work. Before co-founding Tovatech I worked in business development and project management at Smiths Detection, Photon-X, Cardinal Health, and Hoechst Celanese. And before that I spent 12 years as an R&D chemist at Hoechst Celanese and Aventis working on advanced drug delivery systems, polymer films and membranes, optical disks, and polysaccharides. Some day, eventually, I’ll make enough money to develop an innovative technology that will change the world. Read More