We get lots of questions about temperature logs and refrigerator brands and whether or not we'll be coming around with clipboards and magnifying glasses to find all of your vaccine mistakes. And for those of you who also manage VFC inventory, you can all breathe a sigh of relief, because the short answer is no, we don't run audits outside of the occasional inventory count (which you already take weekly anyway).
That said, here at VaxCare, we do expect you to manage your vaccine inventory in a way that leads to the best outcomes for your patients. This means we do expect you to follow manufacturer guidelines for correct temperature, light exposure, time out of the fridge, sterility, expiration dates, and age indication. And we do expect you to follow all CDC recommendations for vaccine handling and storage.
While we will always refer you to the experts on a particular product (that would be the manufacturer of that specific vaccine, in case you're wondering), we do have a few tips to help you get started with managing your VaxCare inventory.
Your Refrigerator and Temperature Logs
While we aren't making surprise visits and demanding the last 90 days' temperatures hour by hour, we do assume that your refrigerator is reliable and maintains a proper temperature for vaccine storage. This means you are routinely monitoring your fridge and not leaving vaccines out on the counter all shift.
Always use a medical-grade refrigerator and/or freezer instead of a household or dorm-style fridge.
We get it -- you came back on Monday morning after a relaxing, restful weekend to find your coworker left the door of the fridge wiiiiiide open. Everything is ruined, and you're about to go into panic mode!
But don't. Remember, we've gotcha covered!
First, simply call the specific manufacturer(s) of your vaccines to give them the details of the excursion. They will ask you questions like: What was the last temperature you documented before you discovered the fridge went out? How long was the fridge known to be out? What is the current temperature in the fridge? What products do you have on hand? Do you have bottles of water or refrigerated ice packs in your fridge to help maintain temperatures during an outage?
Please note that we will not give you advice regarding temperature excursions, other than to point you in the direction of the vaccine manufacturers.
Next, if the vaccines are viable, simply document according to office policy and then use the vaccines as normal. There is no need to call VaxCare if all vaccines are viable.
If the vaccines are not viable, call us immediately. We'll overnight new vaccines (if the fridge is working) or we'll place your orders on hold (if you need time to purchase/install a new fridge). Then, we'll send you a loss form and walk you through what to do next. You are only financially responsible for vaccines that are missing or that do not have their sterile cap at the time of the fridge outage. We'll take care of the rest.
Do not throw vaccines away. Call us and we'll help you return your non-viable vaccines.
Let's talk about those sterile caps for a second...
Please do not put needles on your vaccines before you are ready to administer to a patient! We understand that sometimes you've needled a vaccine that a patient then refuses, but these situations should be rare. If you need to waste a vaccine, please do so (see Wasting a Vaccine). Always, always follow vaccine manufacturer recommendations for how long a vaccine can have a needle attached and/or have the sterile cap removed before the vaccine is no longer considered sterile or safe for a patient.
If we are taking an inventory count with you, we unfortunately cannot count vaccines that have been previously drawn up in a generic syringe (i.e. polio). Because we cannot confirm the contents of that syringe, we do not consider this a safe way to store vaccines.
In the case of a fridge outage or expired vaccines, we cannot accept any vaccines returned to our office without their sterile cap or with a needle attached.
Lastly, please do not attempt to return vaccines to our main office with needles attached. This is a very serious safety issue for both delivery personnel and VaxCare staff, and we cannot accept any vaccines without their sterile cap anyway.
Please be advised that for both safety and insurance coverage purposes, we cannot bill for vaccines given outside of manufacturer age indications. If you are intentionally vaccinating a patient out of age indication due to a clinical need for vaccination, please utilize our Partner Bill payment method and bill for those vaccines directly. Our VaxHub will make age indication recommendations based on ACIP and manufacturer guidelines, but it will also let you override the safety warning if you wish to vaccinate your patient. This serves as your reminder to Partner Bill for these patients/vaccines.
Still have questions? Reach out to our Customer Care team. We're happy to help! Message us directly by clicking on the blue Intercom bubble in the bottom right corner of your screen. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call us at 1-888-829-8550.