The Vaccines For Children (VFC) Storage Series: Data Loggers

In our first article in our Vaccine Storage Series, we provided some resources for Vaccines for Children (VFC) Providers, specifically highlighting links and general information you must know to be a provider in the program. In our second post, we talked about vaccine storage; namely the differences in state requirements, state recommendations, CDC requirements, and CDC recommendations for temperature sensors and calibrations, and how to wade through all those differences. This time, we are talking about another sector of vaccine storage: data loggers.

The Present and Recent Past

At the moment, you may be monitoring your vaccines with a chart recorder. That’s not above the call of duty anymore. While we and other temperature monitoring device manufacturers used to recommend chart recorders for vaccine storage, we don’t anymore. Why? Chart recorders are an old technology no longer suited for vaccine storage. Today, hospitals and vaccines were kept at the correct temperatures. Not only that, but they allow you to set clinics understand just how much temperature fluctuations affect a vaccine’s potency, and the limitations of a chart recorder don’t fall in line with the importance of keeping vaccines safe. Right now, the CDC does not require participants in the VFC program to use data loggers to monitor vaccines. As we discussed last month, the CDC and most state VFC programs only require their clinics to check the temperatures of their vaccines twice a day, reading the temperatures off of a temperature sensor. But, data loggers are the future.

The Future

The CDC currently recommends you monitor your vaccines with a data logger. We’ve heard from both CDC advisors and VFC providers that regulations are moving towards the requirement of clinics using a data logger. Data loggers are devices that record temperature over time. What they fundamentally allow clinics and hospitals to do, is prove that their alarms, generate reports, and better understand your place in the vaccine cold chain. The biggest issue for most clinics and hospitals is the cost associated with switching to data loggers. We think this is silly. Why? It’s simple: the cost of having to throw away VFC vaccines and replace them, or revaccinate children is much, much, much more than a data logger. Right? So let’s say that your state has decided to distribute grants for data loggers, require data loggers, or you just feel like getting ahead of the regulation game. What should you look for in a data logger? We’ve generated the following checklist just for you on the features your data logger should have before you buy:

  • Display current and minimum and maximum temperatures
  • Have a reset button
  • Have user-selectable alarms
  • Have a remote probe submersed in a Glycol bottle (Check out our last post!)
  • Loop all recorded data

To view all of our articles on vaccines and the VFC program, click here.

DISCLAIMER:  Links to and references to CDC are provided for informational purposes only.  CDC does not endorse private products, services or enterprises.