If you are using a MIN/MAX thermometer to record storage temperatures you are probably wonder what will improve by switching to a data logger.
A digital data logger will record temperatures 24/7. Studies have found that vaccines are most at risk when no one is paying attention (when the office is closed). Two of the most common risks to vaccines are power interruptions and faulty equipment, which cause unexpected temperature fluctuations. A loss of power can obviously threaten vaccine inventories; less clear is the impact of faulty equipment. Often a trusted storage unit can suddenly generate abnormally high or low temperatures. This is a sign that the unit needs maintenance or replacement. The information stored in data loggers will alert you to equipment that is failing and will provide proof that temperatures were properly maintained during a power outage.
State health departments have reported saving vaccines with information obtained from data loggers (see case study). They are encouraging vaccine providers to use digital data loggers. Many are choosing the Fridge-tag®2L because it meets all CDC requirements and it is a snap to operate.
Vaccines must be held at certain temperatures. Hep A, DTap and most other vaccines must be stored between 36-46º F (or 2-8ºC). MMR and Varicella must be stored below 5º F (or -15ºC). If these vaccines are not stored at the right temperature they will look the same but they will not be as effective. A compromised vaccine can be worse than no vaccine at all. Improperly stored vaccines can put a patient’s health at risk.
Recently, the Office of Inspector General implemented a test on storage facilities in 45 of the largest VFC providers. They put digital data loggers in those facilities and over the course of 2 weeks they found that 76% of all the facilities, even the ones that thought they were doing a good job, saw temperatures out of range for at least 5 hours per day. That proved that data logger information is far better then the common practice of manually logging temperatures twice per day.