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Expert Strategies to Transform Your Vaccine Storage

July 9, 2024

An extra minute here or there might seem like a small sacrifice to make in a moment when you just need to find some space for a new delivery. But the incremental time lost as more and more doses get shifted around may be the least of your worries.

A disorganized vaccine fridge is more than an inconvenience. What may seem like a simple issue of seasonal crowding can delay administrations, and potentially impact patient adherence. It also increases the risk of usable vaccines being wasted—or worse—those expired vaccines being mistakenly administered.

Our latest article covers the importance of organization, the best practices for keeping your vaccine refrigerator tidy, and the modular tray system we designed to assist our partners in staying organized. 

Why Vaccine Fridge Organization is Important

Maintaining a well-organized vaccine fridge is important for practices of all sizes—whether you have a dedicated vaccine manager or it’s something everyone pitches in on. It’s often easy to overlook, but there are some very important reasons why it deserves your attention and priority.

  • Vaccine Potency and Safety:  Vaccines are delicate biological products with specific temperature requirements. A messy fridge can lead to temperature fluctuations as staff navigate numerous, and only sometimes labeled boxes, potentially compromising vaccine potency and rendering them ineffective at preventing disease. 
  • Enhanced Patient Adherence: Delays caused by difficulties finding vaccines can negatively impact patient adherence. Streamlined vaccine access fosters a smoother vaccination experience, encouraging patients to complete their immunization series.
  • Reduced Waste and Cost Savings: Operating without a clear structure or system can lead to expired vaccines going unnoticed and ultimately being discarded. A well-organized system with clear labeling and inventory management helps ensure vaccines are used before expiration, minimizing waste and associated costs for your practice.
  • Improved Compliance: There are specific guidelines for vaccine storage and handling, including proper temperature control and record-keeping. A well-organized vaccine fridge facilitates adherence to these regulations—and the good habits of today minimize the risk of accidental non-compliance in the future.

A well-organized vaccine fridge allows staff to locate and retrieve vaccines quickly, minimizing delays and streamlining the vaccination process. This improved workflow and efficiency translates to better patient care and reduced wait times as staff are able to focus on providing high-quality immunizations.

Let’s Get Organized!

VaxCare’s modular tray system is designed to transform your vaccine storage, making it easy to keep your vaccine refrigerator organized. This system is endlessly adaptable and capable of accommodating practically every vaccine box and any fridge volume. 

The ability to customize the layout to their needs ensures that our partners are able to maximize the space available while improving overall inventory use and management. 

Designed to be easily handled but still allow for proper air circulation and access to vaccines, our tray system puts the user front and center. Whether you use the nestable dose tray or not, each tray base comes ready to be labeled with pre-printed sheets for all your presentations. And with support for VFC and private labeling, identifying the dose/stock combination you need is quick and straightforward.

Additionally, our system supports the best practices you’re used to:

  • Separation of VFC and Private Vaccines: Vaccines for Children (VFC) supply can be kept separate from the vaccines we supply at no cost, maintaining compliance with program requirements.
  • Original Packaging: Vaccines can be kept in their original boxes until they are ready to be used.
  • Expiration Date Management: Vaccines with shorter expiration dates have room at the front of each tray to be used first, reducing waste.
  • Avoid Air Vents: Because this system was designed with airflow in mind, vaccines should continue to be stored away from air vents to prevent damage from too-cold temperatures.
  • No Storage in Doors, Drawers, or the Floor: Vaccines are not stored in areas where temperature fluctuations are more likely, ensuring consistent storage conditions.

For practices with extra room, we also recommend grouping by patient type (pediatric, adolescent, and adult) to further streamline the administration process. Either way, transforming your vaccine storage with VaxCare makes it easy to quickly identify the vaccines you need at a glance.

Additional Tips

In addition to using our modular tray system, here are some additional tips to maintain an organized vaccine refrigerator:

Regular Audits
Conduct regular audits of your vaccine inventory to ensure proper organization and accurate record-keeping.

Temperature Monitoring
Use digital data loggers to continuously monitor the temperature within your vaccine refrigerator.

Training
Train all staff members on proper vaccine storage and handling procedures to ensure compliance and safety.

Maintenance
Regularly maintain and service your vaccine refrigerator to ensure optimal performance.

Uniform Cooling
Place containers filled with water in the areas where it’s not appropriate for vaccines—such as in the door, or on the bottom shelf in place of drawers. This helps maintain a consistent temperature, even when the door is opened frequently.
For additional information and a quick-reference illustration, the CDC offers a great best practices downloadable (PDF).

Effective vaccine fridge organization is essential for maintaining the efficiency and effectiveness of vaccination programs. Even for practices going it alone—investing in a homegrown tray system, coupled with these best practices, can still empower you to create a centralized, well-organized, and efficient vaccine storage solution—elevating the quality of care you provide.

By working on the same problem, partner or not, we’re working together. Let’s continue to ensure efficient and effective vaccine storage and maintain a healthier future for everyone.

 

References
(2024, July 9). Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/admin/storage/toolkit/index.html
(2024, July 9). Storage and Handling of Immunobiologics (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/general-recs/storage.html
(2024, July 9). Vaccine Storage and Handling (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/vac-storage.html
(2024, July 9). Vaccine Storage and Handling Resources (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/admin/storage/index.html

Additional Resources
For more information on vaccine management and healthcare compliance, including best practices, training opportunities, and relevant updates on immunization programs, we recommend:

World Health Organization (WHO): https://www.who.int/immunization/diseases/en/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/
Immunize.org: https://www.immunize.org/


July 9, 2024