Have you signed up for a COVID-19 vaccine? The largest number of countries worldwide have commenced the process of immunization to put an end to the struggle with the tireless coronavirus.
Vaccination seems to be the most promising solution for finding a way out of this pandemic. Therefore, governments strive to purchase enough doses to finish immunization as soon as possible. Nevertheless, some types of vaccines should be stored in ULT freezers to be stable and safe to administer.
The following guide will introduce you to the role of these units in vaccine storage.
Why do COVID-19 vaccines need to be kept cold?
COVID-19 vaccines, such as Moderna and Pfizer, must be kept at cold temperatures due to the application of mRNA technology in their development. Their job is to teach the body cells to create a protein, which stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies to defend the body when coming in contact with the coronavirus. Read more about the symptoms, risks, and causes of COVID-19.
Nevertheless, the mRNA is fragile, hence at risk of breaking down rapidly. The only way for mRNA-based vaccines to remain stable is by storing them at sub-zero temperatures. Cold chain maintenance is vital for preserving their quality and efficacy from the moment of manufacturing to the time they’re received by patients.
The only way for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be distributed and applied safely is by storing them in biologic freezers at ultra-low temperatures. If stored in normal refrigerators, the Pfizer vaccine can last for as many as five days prior to the degradation of the mRNA. Conversely, the Moderna vaccine remains stable for a longer period of thirty days when stored in a refrigerator.
The role of ULT freezers
Ultra-low freezers have been used for years in the field of biology and biotechnology by medical centers, research universities, blood banks, forensic laboratories, etc. Their most recent application is the storage of coronavirus vaccines. These units are armed with numerous features to meet the storage requirements of manufacturers.
For instance, ULT freezers provide temperature control with the help of an adjustable thermostat. Such thermostats can be adjusted in increments of 0.1 ˚C to maintain optimal performance. It’s of great value for these units to come with a display, which shows the actual temperature.
Moreover, ULT freezers should be armed with an alarming system, which provides immediate alerts if the unit shows signs of malfunction. The role of a COVID biologic freezer is to provide ultra-low storage reliability in various operating conditions. Therefore, it should remain functional in case of a power outage.
Most systems are battery-operated, using visual and audio alerts to warn individuals when the temperature exceeds the required value. These systems should also have a low-battery indicator to notify users when the battery needs charging.
ULT freezers are supposed to be designed with internal compartments, separate from each other, not to expose the specimens to ambient temperature. When the main door of these units is opened, the vaccines stored inside are affected by ambient air. To compromise the quality of all specimens, these freezers should contain a particular number of compartments with magnetic doors. Hence, ambient air will be confined solely to the compartment that is accessed.
The interior volume of ultra-low freezers varies following the model. For instance, upright models have a capacity between thirteen and thirty cubic feet, whereas chest models have a lower capacity between two and twenty-seven cubic feet. It’s worth remembering these units operate better when full.
ULT freezers should have a sturdy construction, especially the door handles. Also, the unit should provide the quickest temperature recovery possible following each door opening to prevent triggering the alarm daily for no particular reason. There should be an eye-level display showing the time, alarm history, event logging, alarm tests, etc.
Given temperature capabilities, ULT freezers differ from the pharmacy and low-temperature models. The range of pharmacy freezers is between -10 and -25˚C, whereas the model determines the cooling range of low-temperature units. It can range from at least -25 ˚C to a maximum of -40˚C. In contrast, ULT units provide freezing temperatures from -86˚C to -20˚C, which match the requirements for vaccine storage. See the following URL, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/pfizer/index.html, for more information on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
These units can be plugged into outlets of 110V and 220V. Due to the low number of moving parts and the absence of oil, no special maintenance is required to guarantee top performance. Given these units consist of a couple of components, the likelihood of system failure is lower.
Proper storage is of crucial importance in the efficiency of COVID-19 vaccines.
ULT freezers can keep them safe!