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The Kids Doctor: Basics of Vaccine Storage

With kids back in school, many parents were able to check off immunizations on their back to school to do list. Vaccines are not just for babies, they also keep older children healthy and protect their fellow students.
With kids back in school, many parents were able to check off immunizations on their back to school to do list. Vaccines are not just for babies, they also keep older children healthy and protect their fellow students.

Each day, your pedestrian should be checking off their list storage safety when it comes to your child's vaccines.  A recent government study showed that not all vaccine providers ensure proper storage of their vaccines raising concerns that improper storage may reduce the effectiveness of a vaccine.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) sets strict guidelines for vaccine storage that all medical offices are required to follow.

Here's how it should work. In my office, vaccines arrive almost daily in large temperature controlled Styrofoam containers.  Some vaccines need to be kept cold while others are to  remain frozen until they are used.

The temperature of vaccines needs to be monitored from the time they leave the manufacturer, during shipping and when they arrive and are stored in the doctor's office.

The pediatrician's office refrigerator needs to be closely monitored as well to ensure that each vaccine is stored correctly.  The vaccines should be well labeled, and each different vaccine should be placed in separate bins. 

Vaccine expiration dates need to be monitored and expired vaccines should be discarded immediately. The refrigerator and freezer temperatures should be recorded at least twice daily, and there should be a back up power or alarm system in case of a power outage.

If you're concerned about vaccine storage safety, talk with your pediatrician and ask them to give you a peek inside their vaccine storage refrigerators.  I will put your mind at ease.

I'm Dr. Sue with The Kid's Doctor helping parents take charge.

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