Ensuring that your vaccinations are securely and properly stored is a fundamental aspect of providing safe, effective immunisation programs. Without appropriate storage and handling techniques, vaccines can become completely rendered unsafe for human consumption and unusable.
When stored at the wrong temperatures, clinics can lose thousands of dollars in wasted doses.
At the foundation of good immunisation practice is rigorous and tightly controlled storage procedures. Read on for a brief overview of the appropriate handling of vaccinations.
Lay out Stringent, Comprehensive Storage Plans and Routines
Thorough Detailing of your clinic’s vaccine storage protocols is vital to ensuring their proper usage. Retain and follow the manufacturer's directions for every unique vaccination, ensuring that each is stored at the correct temperature so as to not harm the micro-organisms within. Never freeze vaccines. If this happens, you must discard of them and never administer.
Drawers and bins in fridges tend to fluctuate in temperature, so they make a poor choice for vaccine storage. Detail and log your refrigerator temperatures to ensure they are keeping vaccinations consistently cooled. Upon receiving new shipments, be sure to rotate your stock so that old vaccines will be used first. Finally, it is important that you regularly check the expiration dates on your vaccines to ensure you never administer a dose that has reached its expiration.
Handle Your Doses With Care
Vaccines are most likely to be contaminated during the preparation and handling of a dose. To limit any potential risks, buy individual vaccines instead of multidose stocks wherever possible. While they are less expensive, the multidose stocks are much more likely to cause contamination through multiple needle draws.
Should your clinic use multidose stock, then only prepare what you will be using immediately. Never store a prepared vaccine for later use, and always discard any unused dose. As always, using sterile equipment is critical and will help stop contamination. It is equally important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for every vaccination, as they differ from dose to dose.
Be Prepared, Be Careful
Appropriate storage and handling of vaccinations is vital for the safe administration of every dose. Proper preparation and care are the best ways to avoid contamination. Always follow instructions and make documentation readily available to ensure that each practitioner is able to quickly reference. When handling a vaccine, make sure it is safe to use and handle it as little as possible before use. By following these steps, you’ll decrease the chance of wasting stock or improper or unsafe vaccination.