Time to Upgrade your Vaccine Refrigerator?

Flu vaccines must be properly refrigerated
Flu vaccines must be properly refrigerated

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 StorageRead the rest

What you should know about Lab Refrigerator Alarms

In this post we take a bit of liberty with Murphy’s Law (If something can go wrong it will) and apply it to safe storage of pharmaceuticals, biologicals and other temperature-sensitive products in scientific refrigerators and freezers.  Indeed, many of our posts deal with temperature control and temperature monitoring/recording systems for this equipment.  Here we focus on the third part of the equation:  laboratory refrigerator and freezer temperature alarming systems.

Why Temperature Alarms are Critical

What can go wrong?  Perhaps a power failure is first to come to mind.  If your facility does not have an emergency generator that immediately comes on line you need a backup plan to … 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

When to Specify Flammable Refrigerators

There are many documented cases of severe damage due to explosions of volatile products stored in standard household refrigerators.   The explosion is initiated when volatile fumes or products are ignited by sparks created by unit electronics such as internal lighting, thermostats, fans, and compressor cycling.  In addition to property damage severe personnel injuries or even death can result when doors are blown off and contents scattered throughout the area.  Attempting to make standard refrigerators into flammable refrigerators or flammable-safe refrigerators by removing potential sources of sparks not only will void warranties but also is definitely not the correct solution. 

Flammable Materials Defined

According to OSHA, NFPA (National Fire Protection … 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

Undercounter BOD Incubator Refrigerator

Temperature stability or minimum temperature drift is an important feature for BOD incubator refrigerators, along with sophisticated temperature controls and alarming systems.  These are among the attributes of the new Norlake lab incubators now available from Tovatech.  The 5.5 cubic foot units can store up to 71 300-ml BOD bottles.  The LRI061 high-performance refrigerated incubator is an ideal choice for labs with moderate size storage requirements to support a variety of scientific studies.

A Lab Incubator with Programmable Logic Control

The microprocessor PLC allows researchers to tightly specify storage temperatures to one decimal place (0.10⁰C) in their scientific incubator by using the intuitive 4-digit LED display and 8-button interface.   The interface allows users to navigate through the lab incubator menu structure including on/off, return to status, displaying program selections, the alarming system and cooling status.

The streamlined interior is designed to optimize air flow and temperature uniformity.  This is attested … Read the rest

Hot Weather Precautions for Laboratory Refrigerators

Unprecedented heat waves across much of the country place strains on laboratory refrigerators and laboratory freezers even if they are in air conditioned research labs and medical facilities.  Power cutbacks and power failures due to excessive strain on the power grid and electrical storms should be anticipated by lab personnel. Provision should be made to protect costly or rare biological samples, vaccines, and other temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals and products.

10 Tips on Proper Lab Fridge and Lab Freezer Operation

Your organization should have standard operating procedures for stocking and maintaining laboratory refrigerators and freezers.  These are especially important when atmospheric conditions could lead to sub-par performance.  Here are some useful tips to help ensure content protection in medical grade refrigerators and freezers during the dog days of summer.  Or anytime for that matter. They are not listed in order of importance because all are important.

  1. Minimize access to the units.  Every
Read the rest

How MD Offices Save Space with a Compact Vaccine Refrigerator

2.5 cubic foot refrigerator for vaccines
2.5 cubic foot refrigerator for vaccines

Rules and recommendations abound concerning vaccine storage with strict temperature control usually heading the list and an awareness of expiration dates following closely behind.  For medical doctors engaged in family practice vaccine refrigerators are a must.  The goal is to provide safe storage in a vaccine refrigerator sized to meet the inventory needs of practices working with tight budgets.  Compact undercounter or tabletop models on the market, such as the 1.6 cubic foot FFAR22LTMED, 2.5 cubic foot FF28LTMED, and 2.8 cubic foot FF32LTMED series available from Tovatech, provide economically priced solutions for vaccine refrigeration needs.

Designed for Tight Temperature Control

With footprints of approximately 22 inches or less these compact medical refrigerators have product protection and monitoring features matching those found on full-sized models.  Examples include:

  • Temperature control from 2˚ to 8˚C
  • Hospital-grade “green dot”  power cords
  • Audible temperature warning alarms
  • Digital thermostats with
Read the rest

Understanding Temperature Cycling

A Nor-Lake Premier auto-defrost 2-door lab refrigerator
A Nor-Lake Premier auto-defrost 2-door lab refrigerator

Setting and maintaining precise temperatures in lab refrigerators and lab freezers is crucial if your research or manufacturing facility subscribes to cGLP and cGMP.  Costly pharmaceuticals and vaccines can quickly be compromised if laboratory refrigerators and laboratory freezers are not carefully monitored.  A key area of concern is temperature cycling during defrosting cycles in these storage units and how this must be accommodated by established standard operating procedures in your facility.

Defrosting Described

Defrosting by definition indicates a temperature fluctuation, whether in a lab freezer or lab refrigerator.  Defrosting cycles can be manual (manual defrost) or automatic (auto-defrost).

A manual defrost freezer functions by circulating refrigerant in the walls of the unit.  Products stored next to the walls will likely be colder than products stored toward the middle.  This temperature gradient should be taken into account in your standard operating … Read the rest

Forensic Refrigerator has Lockable Compartments

9-compartment forensic storage refrigerator

9-compartment forensic storage refrigerator

Health practitioners, law enforcement agencies, defense and prosecuting attorneys know the value of properly handled and preserved forensic evidence to identify victims and suspects and to help build cases leading to verdicts by jurors.  Procedures for the proper storage of these samples have been established, and proper refrigeration is a key element in many of these procedures.

Evidence such as blood and tissue samples that require refrigeration can be safely stored in a forensic laboratory refrigerator now available from Tovatech. It has 6 compartments 8-1/4”h x 9”w x 13”d, 2 at 11”h x 9”w x 7”d and one at 8-14”h x 9”w x 13”d.  Each compartment has its own combination lock to help protect against unauthorized access.  Totaling 10 cubic feet of storage space the 56-inch high forensic evidence refrigerator has a 2-foot square footprint and additional storage shelves in the reversible door.… Read the rest