August 15, 2003
CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE
- Important: CDC releases information about the
impact of the August 14 power outage on vaccine storage
Back to Top
(1 of 1)
August 15, 2003
IMPORTANT: CDC RELEASES INFORMATION ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THE AUGUST 14 POWER
OUTAGE ON VACCINE STORAGE
On August 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released
information to provide guidance regarding vaccine storage issues
related to the August 14 power outage in the northeastern and Midwestern
United States. The information is reprinted below in its entirety.
August 15, 2003
IMPORTANT IMMUNIZATION INFORMATION: READ IMMEDIATELY
Please share with your constituents in the affected areas.
IMPACT OF POWER OUTAGE ON VACCINE STORAGE
On Thursday, August 14,
2003, the Eastern US power grid experienced an outage that affected a
number of states and metropolitan areas in the northeastern and
Midwestern United States. While power has been restored in some areas,
many more remain without electricity.
This outage has significant implications for
vaccine storage. The following should provide some guidance regarding
vaccine storage issues.
Do not open freezers and refrigerators
until power is restored.
Most refrigerated vaccines are relatively
stable at room temperature for limited periods of time. The vaccines of
most concern are MMR and Varivax, which are sensitive to elevated
temperatures. MMR may retain potency at room temperature, depending on
the duration of exposure. With regard to Varivax, CDC will be consulting
with Merck Vaccines to determine the best course of action.
temperatures; don't discard; don't administer affected vaccines until you
have discussed with public health authorities.
If the power outage is on-going:
- Keep all refrigerators and freezers closed. This will help to conserve
the cold mass of the vaccines.
- Continue to monitor temperatures if possible. Do not open units to
check temperatures during the power outage. Instead, record the
temperature as soon as possible after the power is restored, and the
duration of the outage. This will provide data on the maximum
temperature and maximum duration of exposures to elevated temperatures.
- If alternative storage with reliable power sources are available (i.e.
hospital with generator power), transfer to that facility can be
considered. If transporting vaccine, measure the temperature of the
refrigerator(s) and freeze(s) when the vaccines are removed. If possible
transport the vaccine following proper cold chain procedures for storage
and handling or try to the record the temperature the vaccine is
exposed to during transport.
When power has been restored:
- Record the temperature in the unit as soon as possible after power has
been restored. Continue to monitor the temperatures until they
reach the normal 2 - 8 degrees Celsius range in the refrigerator, or -15
degrees C or less in the freezer. Be sure to record the duration of
increased temperature exposure and the maximum temperature observed.
- If you receive vaccine from your state or local health department,
they may be contacting you with guidance on collecting information on
vaccine exposed to extreme temperatures.
- If you are concerned about the exposure or efficacy of any of your
vaccine stock, do not administer the vaccine until you have consulted
your state or local health department.
- Keep exposed vaccine separated from any new product you receive and
continue to store at the proper temperature if possible.
- Do not discard any exposed vaccine. Any vaccine determined not to be
viable may be returned to your vaccine supplier. Your state or
local health department will work with you on all vaccine they supply to
For additional information and guidance please contact your state or
local health department.