Power Outages and Covid-19 Vaccination
Emergencies typically happen without warning. In various situations like severe weather conditions and natural disasters that cause power outages, vaccine storage conditions may potentially be compromised.
Power outages create a significant problem with vaccine storage, especially since storage temperatures are critical and can easily affect the effectiveness of the doses. On top of this, the costs of a power failure can go as high as thousands of dollars for any healthcare facility that stores larger quantities of vaccines.
In response to such issues, every clinic should have a clearly written plan for storing vaccines and handling protection if and when a power outage or emergency occurs. Since vaccines should never be kept in a malfunctioning storage unit for longer periods of time, making preparations in advance to retrieve the vials as quickly as possible during a potentially compromising situation can save the healthcare facility expensive vaccine loss.
At some point, equipment will fail because of a power outage, as well, so at a minimum, every facility should have backup TMDs (Temperature Monitoring Devices), spare batteries, flashlight, and vaccine transport containers and materials. It is also wise to have a backup storage unit so that vaccine vials need not be packed and moved to a separate storage facility if the primary storage equipment fails.
An on-site generator can also prevent the need to transport vaccine to an alternative storage facility when a power outage happens. However, ensure that sufficient fuel is on hand for the generator to continuously run for at least 72 hours.
In case of generator failure, a backup battery power source can come in handy. Ensure that this backup battery power source is tested quarterly and serviced annually.
These precautions are extremely necessary now that the COVID-19 vaccines are already on their way. To make sure that power outages don’t interrupt the Covid-19 Vaccination programs, healthcare facilities should keep these reminders in mind.