Vaccine Temperature Monitoring
Vaccines are a great way to help save lives and protect people against diseases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccines prevent roughly 2-3 million deaths a year, although the exact number is difficult to calculate. As vaccines become more available to the public, the eradication process of diseases begins to increase. For example, in 1977, vaccines eradicated smallpox. Vaccine temperature monitoring helps this trend keep going.

How Temperature Affects Vaccines

Medical professionals must handle vaccines properly in order to maintain their effectiveness against a virus and preserve their shelf life. The vials need to remain in a controlled temperature environment to avoid activation and lose their potency levels. Vaccines will no longer be viable and become ineffective in the protection against viruses if they experience certain temperatures. According to UNICEF, back in 2011, there was an estimate of around $1.5 million worth of vaccines that people had to discard due to temperature breaches. The storage temperature varies between 35°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C), all depending on the type of vaccine and its activation setpoint. If the vaccines experience extreme temperatures, their potency reduces, which ultimately makes them inefficient for protecting individuals against deadly diseases or contagious viruses.

In countries like Africa and Asia, there are countless organizations that are in high demand for vaccines to protect their citizens from diseases. They depend on their vaccines to be active in order to be able to use them in men, women and children. These people are fighting against polio, malaria, Hepatitis B and cervical cancer to name a few. Although the demand for vaccines is very high, people are discarding about 50 percent of the vaccine supply due to exposure to heat because of the lack of power and equipment in foreign countries. This is why investing in ways to protect vaccine vials with temperature monitoring devices is so important for clinics and hospitals that are administering the vaccines to the public. By protecting the vaccines with temperature monitors, providers will be able to control the vials that are on hand and detect which vials they should administer first and which they should discard because of heat exposure.

TempTime Corporation

One of the leaders in the creation of vaccine temperature monitors is TempTime Corporation. TempTime has innovated sensors known as Vaccine Vial Monitors (VVM) that can detect the exposure of heat and cold temperatures as well as the time length of the exposure. The company has several types of monitors such as HEATmarkers, FREEZEmarkers and blood temperature indicators. These VVMs are able to detect if each vaccine vial has had exposure to extreme heat or freezing conditions for extended periods of time. Once the center square has reached its optimal color, the vial is no longer effective in protecting recipients from the virus and should be discarded.

The benefit of this innovation is that it provides administrators like nurses and doctors with peace of mind knowing that their product is still useful for adults and children, protecting them from many diseases. The CDC has estimated that it loses about $20 million worth of product per year due to improper storage. Health professionals must discard vaccines because of heat exposure, and if the vaccines experience heat during transportation, this could cost the organizations and companies thousands of dollars in products that they could have used to treat and prevent diseases. TempTime is continually improving ways of effectiveness for its products to promote global health by creating products that will also test the temperatures during the transportation process like digital devices that read the precise temperature of the monitors or VVMs that can last up to 250 days in monitoring temperatures.

The WHO has acknowledged that VVMs are beneficial to organizations like UNICEF and health care professionals in identifying vaccines that temperatures have compromised. One could deem the ability to detect if a vaccine experienced freezing temperatures as crucial because one could experience a burning sensation when they receive this vaccine. In this situation, institutions could lose patients and receive bad reputations by people sharing their experiences with others. Ultimately, this careless act could harm business as well as causing people to not receive the proper care they deserve, which is why vaccine temperature monitoring is so important.

– Paola Quezada
Photo: Flickr