Maintaining the cold chain in general medicine

Aurore Girard Published in the journal : October 2020 Category : Médecine Générale

Summary :

Keeping vaccines requires maintaining the cold chain, which commonly exhibits weaknesses, even in more developed countries. However, the exposure of most vaccines to high temperatures results in some degree of degradation. Moreover, the freezing itself can cause an immediate vaccine degradation. In this context, the conservation of vaccines in the refrigerator at a constant temperature between 2 and 8 °C is a required framework for the general practitioner, which is designed to preserve the vaccines’ properties. The main characteristics of suitable refrigerators must combine the maintenance of temperature (between 2 and 8 °C), an equal temperature distribution, the availability of an evaporator that prevents freezing, a very rapid temperature recovery device, as well as forced air circulation. Domestic refrigerators may suffice for storing small volumes of vaccines. They must display the minimum characteristics required for good storage conditions and undergo the adaptations necessary to their proper use. Additionally, regular temperature monitoring and reporting must be performed using an outdoor thermometer with a probe. These easily manageable elements enable vaccines to be stored in good conditions, with the eventual outcome of optimizing vaccine coverage of the population.

What is already known about the topic?

Guidelines on the proper storage for temperature-sensitive health products currently exist. However, they are usually little known by general practitioners.

What does this article bring up for us?

This article provides a summary of the current recommendations regarding the delivery, reception, and conservation of vaccines and other heat-sensitive health products.

Key Words

General practice, drug storage, vaccine