Improving temperature monitoring in the vaccine cold chain at the periphery: An intervention study using a 30-day electronic refrigerator temperature logger (Fridge-tag (R))

World Health Organization, Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, Quality, Safety and Standards, 20 Avenue Appia, 27 Geneva 1211, Switzerland.
Vaccine (Impact Factor: 3.62). 05/2010; 28(24):4065-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2010.03.076
Source: PubMed


This intervention study was conducted in Albania to establish the superiority of the Fridge-tag (30-day electronic refrigerator temperature logger) against thermometers. Intervention sites used Fridge-tag and a modified temperature control record sheet, while control sites continued with their routine operation with thermometers. All refrigerators in both groups were equipped with downloadable electronic data loggers to record temperatures for reference. Focus group sessions were conducted with involved staff to discuss temperature monitoring, Fridge-tag use and its user-friendliness. Significant discrepancies were observed between thermometer readings and the electronic data loggers in control sites, while all alarms from Fridge-tag were confirmed in the intervention group. Thermometers are not sufficient to monitor temperatures in refrigerators since they miss the great majority of low and high alarms. Fridge-tag has proven to be an effective tool in providing health workers with the information they need to take the necessary actions when there are refrigerator temperature variations.

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    • "In replacement of stem or dial thermometers with verification twice daily where research shows that this approach fails to safeguard against damaging temperature excursions [10], continuous temperature recording devices were installed in the 43 refrigerators and for 30 vaccine transport journeys—a few more than were assessed in the baseline. The same baseline configuration for the temperature loggers was kept so that comparisons between the baseline and the demonstration temperatures could be made. "
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    ABSTRACT: Accidental freezing of vaccines is a growing threat and a real risk for national immunization programs when the potency of many vaccines can be compromised if these are exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the cold chain. In Tunisia, this issue is compounded by using sub-standard domestic cold chain equipment instead of equipping the program with medical refrigerators designed specifically for storing vaccines and temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals. Against this backdrop, this paper presents the findings of a demonstration project conducted in Tunisia in 2012 that tested the impact of introducing several freeze prevention solutions to mitigate the risk of accidental freezing of vaccines. The main finding is that, despite the continued use of underperforming domestic refrigerators, continuous temperature monitoring using new technologies combined with other technological interventions significantly reduced the prevalence of accidental exposure to freezing temperatures. These improvements were noticed for cold chain storage at regional, district and health center levels, and during the transport legs that were part of the demonstration conducted in the regions of Kasserine in the South-Eastern part of Tunisia. Subsequent to introducing these freeze prevention solutions, the incidence of freeze alarms was reduced and the percent of time the temperatures dropped below the 2 °C recommended threshold. The incidence of freeze alarms at health center level was reduced by 40%. Lastly, the solutions implemented reduced risk of freezing during transport from 13.8% to 1.7%. Although the solution implemented is not optimal in the longer term because domestic refrigerators are used extensively in district stores and health centers, the risk of accidental freezing is significantly reduced by introducing the practice of continuous temperature monitoring as a standard. The management of the cold chain equipment was strengthened as a result which helps protect the potency of vaccines to the areas of most difficult access.
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    ABSTRACT: Determine the effects on the vaccine cold chain of making different types of World Health Organization (WHO) Expanded Program on Immunizations (EPI) vaccines thermostable. Utilizing a detailed computational, discrete-event simulation model of the Niger vaccine supply chain, we simulated the impact of making different combinations of the six current EPI vaccines thermostable. Making any EPI vaccine thermostable relieved existing supply chain bottlenecks (especially at the lowest levels), increased vaccine availability of all EPI vaccines, and decreased cold storage and transport capacity utilization. By far, the most substantial impact came from making the pentavalent vaccine thermostable, increasing its own vaccine availability from 87% to 97% and the vaccine availabilities of all other remaining non-thermostable EPI vaccines to over 93%. By contrast, making each of the other vaccines thermostable had considerably less effect on the remaining vaccines, failing to increase the vaccine availabilities of other vaccines to more than 89%. Making tetanus toxoid vaccine along with the pentavalent thermostable further increased the vaccine availability of all EPI vaccines by at least 1-2%. Our study shows the potential benefits of making any of Niger's EPI vaccines thermostable and therefore supports further development of thermostable vaccines. Eliminating the need for refrigerators and freezers should not necessarily be the only benefit and goal of vaccine thermostability. Rather, making even a single vaccine (or some subset of the vaccines) thermostable could free up significant cold storage space for other vaccines, and thereby help alleviate supply chain bottlenecks that occur throughout the world.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2012 · Vaccine
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