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

How to Avoid Analytical Balance Weighing Errors

The Kern ABT analytical balance with automatic internal calibration
The Kern ABT analytical balance with automatic internal calibration

Precision weighing with an analytical balance requires care and alertness on the part of the operator. Many factors can influence the performance of an analytical laboratory balance.  Where precision is paramount an error of 0.001gram or smaller can be significant when strict regulations apply.

How Lab Balance Errors Occur

In simple terms, digital analytical balance errors arise when the instrument inaccurately records the weight of the sample due to influences that can occur without the operator’s knowledge, or because of poor weighing practices.  Influences can be external or internal.

Although externally induced errors can be caused by many factors, they are easy to reduce or eliminate.  Usually these causes are traced to lapses in precision balance operating procedures relating to the sample and the laboratory environment.  Here are some suggestions on reducing external sources of balance weighing errors.  Note that some … Read the rest

How to Position Parts in an Ultrasonic Cleaner

Correct parts positioning in an ultrasonic cleaner is as important as the ultrasonic cleaning frequency and ultrasonic cleaning solution formulation.  Yet of these three criteria improper parts positioning is often the cause of unsatisfactory results or extended time in the cleaning solution.

Don’t Fight Cavitation

Better said, don’t impede cavitation action.  Cleaning is accomplished by the violent implosion of minute bubbles created in the cleaning solution by ultrasonic transducers.   The cleaning action occurs on all surfaces wetted by the solution as sound waves migrate upward through the solution from the bottom of the ultrasonic cleaner tank and reflect back down from the solution surface. This suggests that putting too much product in the cleaning baskets is not a good idea because it will impede sound reflection.  At Tovatech we recommend a 1 to 2 inch space between the tank walls and parts in the basket.

Related to this, strive to … Read the rest

Maintaining Technical Cleanliness

An important quality control procedure in the automotive and similar industries is determining if certain components meet standards for technical cleanliness.  These standards relate to the presence or absence of residual contamination on parts after they have been formed, welded, and/or machined as the case may be.

Ultrasonic cleaners are commonly used to clean parts by removing contamination by cavitation action.  An ultrasonic cleaner is also a critical component in an exacting process to determine the amount and nature of residual contamination that may remain on the product after manufacturing.  Information on this is contained in our post on determining technical cleanliness.

Preventing Post-Cleaning Contamination

Once procedures are in place to produce components that pass the cleanliness test the objective is to prevent post-cleaning contamination.  While this may seem a no-brainer there are many instances where handing acceptably clean components re-introduces contaminants to the surfaces.  Additional procedures should be in … Read the rest

Tips on Ultrasonic Rinsing Systems

Here at Tovatech we get many questions on selecting correct ultrasonic cleaners and ultrasonic cleaning solutions.  Sometimes overlooked by customers and prospects is the importance of rinsing the products after they emerge from the ultrasonic cleaning bath.  In fact, in many instances, especially with precision or delicate products, ultrasonic rinsing is just as important as the cleaning operation itself.

Why Consider Ultrasonic Rinsing?

Well, maybe you don’t have to.  Certain parts such as carburetors or oil pumps may not be affected by the small amounts of cleaning solution residue that remains when they are removed from biodegradable water-based ultrasonic cleaner baths.

At the other extreme surgical instruments, PCBs and similar high-precision products must be thoroughly rinsed for sanitary and performance reasons.   In a sentence, the standards that apply to the cleanliness of the product will guide the selection of your rinsing procedures.

Fortunately a variety of rinsing options are available. … Read the rest

Use a Portable Halogen Moisture Analyzer to Save Money

The compact, portable IL 50.001 halogen moisture analyzer
The compact, portable IL 50.001 halogen moisture analyzer

If you perform moisture analysis at more than one location in your facility you’ll soon see the value in the IL 50.001 halogen moisture analyzer now available from Tovatech.  What makes it attractive is its portability – instead of buying multiple halogen moisture analyzers simply pack the IL 50.001 in its custom carrying case and take it to the test location.

Moreover, you’ll find this 50 g capacity moisture balance easy to use because programming choices have been confined to the basics – a feature that has a side benefit in terms of attractive pricing.

Superior Performance in a Halogen Moisture Analyzer

Attractive pricing is not at the “expense” of superior performance in this compact, 5-pound 120-volt moisture analyzer.  Only 6.5” wide, 11” deep and 5” high, it offers the following performance specs:

  • Readability: 0.001 g, 0.01% moisture
  • Repeatability: 0.3% (3 g
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

Pipette Cleaning with an Ultrasonic Cleaner

The Elmasonic S80H control panel shows activated on-off and start-stop, the set and remaining time, and set and current bath temperature.  LEDs also indicate when the sweep and degas functions are operating.

Calibrated glass tube pipettes can pose difficult cleaning challenges especially when used to dispense reagents that tend to cling to internal walls.  The process can be extremely labor intensive and can call for multiple cleaning steps before the pipettes can be used with a different reagent.  An added challenge is avoiding breakage when cleaning pipettes.  Careful handling is called for, which can add to cleaning time.   If your lab employs pipettes in multiple quantities you should consider using an ultrasonic cleaner  to help speed the operation.

Widely used for cleaning medical and surgical instruments, ultrasonic cleaners use ultrasonic energy to remove contaminants prior to disinfecting or sterilizing.  Instruments are placed in mesh baskets and immersed in an ultrasonic cleaning solution.  Ultrasonic cleaners create billions of microscopic bubbles that implode on contact with instrument parts in a process called cavitation.  The action blasts away the most tenacious organic substances.  With simple … 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

How to Safely Clean Surgical Implants with IPA

Strict guidelines apply to the cleanliness of surgical implants to assure there are no residual contaminants that can cause infection or other issues after patients are discharged. A very effective cleaning solvent for surgical implants is isopropyl alcohol (IPA). This is because it evaporates quickly, is relatively non-toxic and, importantly, dries residue free.

Ultrasonic cleaners are widely used for cleaning surgical implants after manufacturing because of their speed and effectiveness in removing contaminants.  But using IPA in an ultrasonic cleaner requires special precautions and equipment because IPA is a flammable liquid.

This post describes how to safely clean surgical implants with IPA.

We’ll cover:

  • A quick definition of flammable liquids
  • Special considerations to safely clean surgical implants
  • Defining a hazardous location
  • Equipment selection suggestions
  • Workplace precautions

Flammable Liquids Defined

Ultrasonic Cleaning with Flammable Liquids

Flammable liquids, also termed volatile solvents, are ranked by what is called their flash points. In brief, the lower the flashpoint … Read the rest