US vaccine refrigeration guidelines: Loose links in the cold chain


A Texan visiting Paris exited the Metro at Montparnasse. After entering a familiar restaurant, he sat on an orange barstool and ordered a hamburger. Unknown to him, computerized data loggers had automatically monitored the temperature of his beef every 5 to 60 minutes from the slaughterhouse to the grill. An electronic signature was ascribed to each individual responsible for various links in the food cold chain. The meat was stored in commercial refrigerators. His hamburger was almost certainly safe when cooked. The storage process was compliant with European Council Directives that have been in place for over a decade.1 A few weeks prior to departing from Houston, the Texan’s deltoid was injected with a Tdap booster. The vaccine was kept in a refrigerator designed for use in a domestic kitchen. A nurse measured the storage temperature with a thermometer sitting in a bottle of glycol. Twice a day during her workweek, she wrote down the temperatures on a paper chart. No continuous data logging was utilized. This clinic was compliant with current vaccine storage recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).2

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US vaccine refrigeration guidelines: Loose links in the cold chain