Vaccine Refrigerator & Vaccine Freezer Selection Guidelines

One of the ways healthcare facilities can help control costs is thorough proper storage of vaccines.  The importance of this is stressed in a vaccine management brochure published by the Centers for Disease Control that calls attention to the cost in time and money when compromised vaccines must be replaced.  The exercise includes locating patients who may have received compromised vaccines and determining if they need to be re-vaccinated. (Updated December 5, 2013)

The report goes on to note that the right equipment, trained staff, and written standard operating procedures for handling vaccines in all situations will help avoid many of these problems.

Proper storage is one of the most crucial elements in safeguarding the potency of vaccines and the safety of patients.  Vaccine manufacturers are careful to note the proper storage temperatures, but have little influence on the equipment used by healthcare facilities to maintain these temperatures.   Standard household … Read the rest

How to Store Hepatitis Vaccine

Proper refrigerated storage of hepatitis vaccines is essential to maintain potency as well as to avoid substantial monetary losses due to lack of potency and the time and inconvenience to revaccinate patients.  Proper vaccine storage is also required for providers participating in the Adult Hepatitis Vaccine Project, which is equivalent to the Vaccines for Children program.  AHVP compliance is necessary for providers participating in the project and receiving state-supplied vaccines.


Step 1: Calculate Vaccine Storage Requirements 

Healthcare providers should calculate the number of hepatitis vaccines they will store in their refrigerator.  This is done by adding the number of public and private vaccines on hand from the last order and multiplying that number by 1.25 to determine total doses.  Using the table below match this number with the minimum cubic feet required for storage.

Maximum doses

Minimum cubic feet











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Time to Upgrade your Vaccine Refrigerator?

As of October 2013 predictions on the severity of the 2013-2014 flu season have not firmed according to the CDC, which notes on its website “Although epidemics of flu happen every year, the timing, severity, and length of the season varies from one year to another.”  The CDC also states that flu activity commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February but can run from October to May.*

While timing, strains and severity are of concern to everyone, dispensers of flu shots must continually evaluate the performance of their vaccine refrigerators and vaccine freezers to be certain that they comply with CDC vaccine storage recommendations.  This is especially important if you participate in the vaccines for children (VFC) program.  To finance vaccine refrigeration upgrades check your remaining budget for 2013 or include it in the 2014 budget.

Key Points for Proper Vaccine Storage

Vaccine manufacturers provide detailed information on … Read the rest

Vaccine Storage Temperature Monitoring Tips

Much has been made in our posts regarding the importance of storing valuable vaccines at correct temperatures in scientific refrigerators and freezers.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides explicit guidelines on specifying and using vaccine storage refrigeration equipment.

Using approved storage equipment is one part of the story.  Storage units must be continuously monitored to insure temperatures are within specification.  As noted by the CDC accurate temperature history that reflects actual vaccine temperatures is imperative to effective vaccine management. Therefore every freezer and refrigerator unit used to store vaccine should be equipped with calibrated thermometers with an NIST Certificate of Traceability and Calibration Testing (also known as Report of Calibration).

Automated temperature display, monitoring, alarming and recording devices are crucial components in vaccine storage.  Temperature control systems range from dial-type thermostats to digital microprocessor temperature controllers and displays. In the real world, however, healthcare personnel, ideally under … Read the rest

How to Calculate Vaccine Storage Requirements

Check your vaccine inventory before the flu season

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the timing of the flu season can vary but most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.

Healthcare facilities should be preparing for the 2013-14 flu season by first making certain that they have the required number of doses on hand and the proper refrigeration equipment for vaccine storage. This post will take a look at both issues.

How to Calculate Vaccine Doses

Calculating vaccine doses you will need for a flu season is based, logically, on the number you typically administer during a flu season. In all likelihood you may use more refrigerated vaccine than frozen vaccine.

In making your calculations keep in mind that the CDC suggest maintaining a 60-day supply but ordering replacement stock (if needed) … Read the rest

Portable Refrigerator/Freezer with 3 Power Options

Proper refrigeration or freezing temperatures are critical to avoid spoilage during power outages, on camping expeditions or for emergency personnel responding to an incident.  A solution to temperature control is available in a compact, lightweight portable refrigerator/freezer available from Tovatech.  This unit can be powered by a 12-volt vehicle battery, a 24-volt battery or by being connected to the 115-volt outlet on an emergency generator via its AC adapter.  The unit can be “prepped” by plugging the AC adapter into a conventional outlet to bring and hold internal temperature to the desired level before using the alternative power sources.

Temperature control is provided by a digital control system that … Read the rest

How to Comply with New CDC Vaccine Storage Guidelines

Ongoing instances of vaccine spoilage due to improper storage and inattention to expiration dates has prompted the CDC to issue its “Interim Vaccine Storage and Handling Guidance.”

The CDC guidance and related documents are designed to help healthcare facilities plan procedures and equipment procurement related to the storage of vaccines.

Compliance is particularly important if clinics participate in government-sponsored vaccination programs such as Vaccines for Children. CDC is currently evaluating the most efficient and cost effective method to phase in the recommendations.  More guidance is coming.

CDC Vaccine Storage Guidelines; Tovatech Suggestions

We summarize the current CDC document here with our own suggestions on how healthcare facilities and clinics can take steps to protect their investment in vaccines from the time of receipt to administering.


Use a biosafe glycol-encased probe or a similar temperature-buffered probe rather than measuring ambient air temperatures; provide a hi/low alarm system to alert personnel … Read the rest

A Solution to Vaccine Storage Compliance

Vaccine storage compliance is becoming stricter for small medical offices as states such as Michigan begin to enforce CDC vaccine storage guidelines for refrigerators and freezers.   The new Michigan regulations follow an extensive study by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the US Department of Health and Human Services that disclosed serious lapses in vaccine storage and management practices attached to the Vaccine for Children (VFC) program.  According to the OIG approximately 82 million VFC doses were administered to an estimated 40 million children at a cost of $3.6 billion in 2010.

Improper storage temperatures and disregarding expiration dates are two key issues causing vaccines to lose potency.  Given the size of the VFC program the monetary loss is significant not to mention the diminished or loss of vaccine efficacy and the aggravation related to re-vaccination.  The OIG study revealed that VFC vaccines stored by 76 percent of … Read the rest

Safe Vaccine Storage Check List

Updated versions of three vaccines have been recommended by the World Health Organization for the 2012-2013 flu season according to the Centers for Disease Control.  In order to avoid vaccine deterioration it is essential that healthcare facilities take special precautions in vaccine storage and handling especially as it related to vaccine storage temperature.  Inoculation centers should use vaccine storage refrigerators designed to maintain accurate cold chain storage temperatures.  Residential and dorm-type units are not likely to maintain correct temperatures, which can result in loss of potency and the need to revaccinate – not to mention the cost of lost product.

Check Recommended Vaccine Storage Temperatures

Influenza vaccine manufacturers provide recommended storage temperatures for both LAIV (live attenuated influenza vaccine) administered as a nasal spray and TIV (trivalent influenza vaccine) administered as a flu shot.  According to the CDC LAIV is shipped at 35°F – 46°F (2°C-8°C) and  should be stored … Read the rest

Optimizing Drug Delivery: Even Out the Flow

“The design and fabrication of sustained/controlled release dosage forms, employing new excipients capable of extending/controlling the release of drugs from the dosage forms over prolonged periods, has worked well in achieving optimally enhanced therapeutic levels of the drugs.”  That’s kind of a fancy way of saying what we’ve said before: a lot of work in the pharmaceutical industry is aimed at reformulating drugs to “even out” their flow into the bloodstream.  That particular quote comes from a report on using cellulose ether derivatives as the excipients that smooth out and lengthen drug delivery into the body.  As does every other similar study, this one evaluates the stability of the new formulation in a stability chamber.


For further information visit… Read the rest