Importance of Cold-Chain Temperature Monitoring in the Success Against COVID-19

Published by Patrick Famisaran on

Importance of Cold-Chain Temperature Monitoring in the Success Against COVID-19

The public health system is now a vulnerable institutional sector facing the pandemic. COVID-19 exposes healthcare facilities. They are at thinning capacity. Patient thresholds are now reached. This infectious disease poses such a big challenge.

Hospitals are the new warzone. Admission of COVID positive cases is now a regular occurrence. Healthcare personnel with overlapping PPEs (personal protective equipment) is the new standard procedure. Such an unprecedented epidemic stretches our healthcare system. It disrupts our clinical activities and exposes our planning insights.

Despite the limitations, healthcare is still battling it out in the frontline. With greater demands comes the responsibility to face and fight this pandemic. Along with an immense responsibility is to take care of the vaccines. This will protect us from COVID-19. But how are hospitals preparing for this? How can our healthcare system ease efficient vaccination for all?

Preparation for the vaccine

While hospitals are rearing up for vaccination, particular challenges are insight. The logistical process needs streamlining. Compliance with temperature regulation is a must. Storage is a primary consideration.
Cold-chain logistics can answer these challenges. With the temperature need to distribute the vaccine, a cold-chain facility can do the job. Ultra-cold freezers are a long-time standard in laboratory and research activities. A specialized one can supplement the health facilities. They have been using cold freezers for the longest time. The only difference now is hospitals are needing more extensive facilities.

Storage and handling requirements

The two frontrunner vaccines are from Pfizer and Moderna. They have different temperature needs. They each need a specific temperature condition for distribution. The new mRNA technology on both Pfizer and Moderna needs ultra-cold storage. The vaccine from Pfizer requires a storage temperature of -700C. The Moderna vaccine requires -200C temperature. The difference in temperature setting can impact the delivery of these vaccines. These conditions affect storage and handling management.

The CDC requires cold chain temperature monitoring. These devices ease proper documentation of temperatures as regulatory compliance. The certainty of cold chain temperature monitoring ensures compliance. It also maintains the quality of the vaccine. By logging the temperature, we abide by the necessary storage temperature.

Training of healthcare personnel

We cannot avoid human intervention in the supply chain. Pharmacists are part of the chain that needs to oversee vaccine distribution. Through proper training, personnel can avoid errors. The training should include core competencies which their role demands. The CDC released competencies to qualify healthcare professionals in administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Clinical considerations
  • Vaccine storage and handling
  • Preparation requirements
  • Administration requirements
  • Anaphylaxis guidance (Allergic reaction SOP)
  • Documentation and reporting
  • More information for vaccine recipients
Training of personel about cold chain Temperature monitoring
Photo Credit: indianexpress.com

As the volume of vaccines is ramping up for distribution, the probability of human error is also high. Healthcare professionals should have adequate knowledge and skills in the administration of it. This is important to counter errors. One crucial training need is cold-chain management. One would assume this is the responsibility of the cold-chain proprietor. But this process does not end with the storage alone. Managing the storage, transport, and delivery of vaccines is essential for hospitals. The ones in charge in the hospital setting are dedicated healthcare personnel. Good cold-chain management can pave the way for the quality vaccine for its recipients.

What lies ahead?

With the vaccine underway, hospitals are transitioning to accommodate better inoculation methods. Health facilities are now developing to integrate other facets to better healthcare. The aspect of sustainability is a primary consideration. Beyond this pandemic, we need our facilities to improve. These improvements will help them prepare for other diseases that may harm us again. There are specific enhancements in the health facilities that will be apt in the future.

Hospitals as pandemic units

Most of the larger hospitals already have infectious disease units. Currently, converting the existing units may be a band-aid solution. These pandemic units are centers to treat contagious diseases. To prevent the spread of virulent pathogens, a patient will take one room. These units will serve as containment facilities. Healthcare personnel can check each room through glass windows and an intercom system. The system will be the primary mode of communication between doctors and patients. The use of PPEs will no longer be necessary. Furthermore, epidemiologists and infectious disease experts will operate the facility.

Multidisciplinary platform

There is no denying that the pandemic has affected all facets of our life. It only fits that the fight against it should not be on the healthcare shoulders alone. Hospitals will integrate economists, statisticians, psychologists, and others in the fold. This will build a multidisciplinary team. They will tackle the most pressing infectious concern.

The involvement of key players can enhance the capacity of doctors to address a disease. This collaboration is also a way to improve preparedness. This is vital for unforeseen health concerns like COVID-19. The participation of different specialties provides better decision-making.

Data sharing centers

Information is crucial in this pandemic. Health facilities need information especially. The COVID-19 is a learning curve for us. With access to information, we gain better knowledge on how to tackle this disease. There are factors where data sharing centers can aid:

Training and Education

The access to information about the disease helps inform epidemiologists. It is also a source of sharing best practices to mitigate the effects of the virus. Data centers can be a reference point for educating healthcare personnel. A developed module will be beneficial specific to health care roles. Access to an offline curriculum about vaccine administration is more manageable.

Contact Tracing

The primary consideration for diseases like COVID-19 is the fast viral transfer. The data center will not only report case count but will serve as monitoring for close contacts. Public service officers especially need this to install proper and coordinated lockdown protocols. As such, coordination will also be efficient to a healthcare facility for a referral. Data centers will be the new reference point for testing and surveillance.

Kepping close data for contact tracing including, temperature monitoring of every individual in one place
Photo Credit: www.leehealth.org

Importance of Cold Chain Tracking

Vaccines are a vital element to prevent COVID-19. The precautionary measure that we abide by can only do so much. Making sure that vaccines reach their intended recipients is significant. But more than access, the delivery of vaccines is also crucial. Cold chain temperature Monitoring devices can provide the information we need in vaccine deployment. temperature Monitoring devices can ensure their quality as well. A sensor connected to the data center can plan deployment for mass vaccination. This can also preserve the integrity of the vaccine proving that its efficacy is very high.

The IATA (International Air Transport Association reports that air transport temperature excursions are a critical issue in vaccine transport. These temperature excursions resulted in about USD 34 billion losses in healthcare annually. Moreover, about 20% of biopharmaceuticals are damaged during shipment. These products are temperature-sensitive. The fluctuations in the temperature setting cause the damage.

This cold-chain issue is problematic. It is hard to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine worldwide. Cold chain providers have more responsibility to negate these losses. But, the opportunity for newer innovation is very evident. The rise of cloud storage and wireless tracking sensors advances the capacity of cold chain logistics.

Cold Chain Temperature Monitoring

Sensors are considered to be your alert notification during cold chain transport. With the need for a constant temperature range in vaccine distributions, sensors can detect temperature fluctuations. Wireless sensors are incredibly convenient for long-range transport. Data logging during transit tracks your vaccine location. The use of temperature monitoring sensors on shipments is ideal. The NIST temperature sensor is an able tool to get a transport tracking view of vaccine delivery.

Power of Wireless Communication

It is one thing to have a visible view of vaccine transport. It is a new comprehensive monitoring capacity when you can get a bigger monitoring picture. Wireless sensors, when pieced together, create a network of tracking devices. It will document your transport every step of the way.

Through the AKCP Wireless Tunnel gateway, NIST wireless sensors communicate live data. The date will course to the AKCPRo Pharma-mon Server. This server is an IoT cloud-based platform interconnecting all deployed servers. One can track it through a mobile phone via the internet or data connection.

Cold Storage facilities monitored in real time. Refrigerated delivery vehicles log data and synchronize when back at warehouse

Cold Chain Monitoring Complementing Vaccine Development

The recent vaccine technology proves that our pharma industry can keep pace with the pandemic. Vaccines will only be efficient if their quality is preserved. This ensures that their efficacy is at best given to a recipient. To do that, the health care industry must go hand in hand with good cold chain management.

The rising COVID-19 cases around the world are a cause of concern. The need for a vaccine is very urgent. We already have many approved COVID-19 vaccines in the market. The next hurdle is to relay it to where it is needed. We are aware of the logistical complication. But, the right monitoring equipment can negate some primary limitations along the way. With the rate of vaccine development currently, the cold chain must be able to meet such demands. In the end, both should complementary to each other. More remarkable vaccine development should also mean further innovation in the cold chain.

References Links:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14787210.2020.1807941

https://www.pharmacypracticenews.com/Operations-and-Management/Article/02-21/Hospitals-Hone-COVID-19-Vaccine-Cold-Chain-Strategies/62396

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/training.html

https://openwho.org/courses/covid-19-vaccination-healthworkers-en

https://www.iata.org/contentassets/494bc14afd934b0193735e9a47091d72/iata_ceiv-pharma_how20to20become20ceiv20pharma20certified.pdf

https://www.supplychaindive.com/news/coronavirus-vaccine-cold-chain-tracking-iot-sensor-technology/583168/


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