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

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

Ensure Proper Cold Chain Maintenance

If you’ve visited our pages with any frequency at all, you know of the importance of the vaccine cold chain.  Vaccines lose their potency when stored at too high or low a temperature.  Everyone involved in distributing vaccines knows the general idea: you need to keep your vaccines cold.  But sometimes people are weak on the details, such as the exact temperature range or the differences between different vaccines.  Researchers at the North Coast Medical Education Collaboration evaluated actual storage conditions in different clinical settings, and correlated those measurements with staff awareness and the particular type of refrigeration employed.  Their conclusion: “General practices that invest in purpose built vaccine refrigerators will achieve standards of vaccine cold chain maintenance significantly more reliably than can be achieved through regular cold chain monitoring and practice supports.”

For further information visit www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.… 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
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Improving Temperature Monitoring in Lab Freezers and Refrigerators

One of the most crucial aspects of storing vaccines, biological samples and other temperature-critical products is establishing and maintaining a temperature monitoring, recording and archiving system for laboratory refrigerators and laboratory freezers.  For vaccine storage alone, as an example, temperature excursions above or below recommended ranges can result in substantial financial costs due to loss of potency, and inconvenience due to re-vaccination.  

Local and remote alarming systems can be used to signal temperature excursions beyond set parameters. Ideally the lab or healthcare facility will have procedures in place to protect temperature sensitive products in such an event.  

Twice-daily manual temperature logs and automated chart recorders provide traditional paper trails to help satisfy regulatory requirements for record keeping.  Both suffer from two problems:  human error (forgot to log the temperature or change the chart paper) and archiving (where to store the paperwork).  

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Solar Power to the Rescue of Hospitals in Developing Countries

WE CARE Solar works with hospitals in developing countries helping them implement reliable electrical supplies for powering hospital wards and equipment. In this video the the founder walks us through the difficulties faced by healthcare centers in Nigeria. Due to the lack of continuous power supply traditional blood bank refrigerators are unfeasible. WE CARE Solar helped these centers deploy solar powered electrical systems that brought reliable power to power equipment like sonograms and solar powered blood bank refrigerators. They also supplied walkie talkies that were recharged by electricity from solar power.… Read the rest