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ANSI COVID-19 Update: A New Standard Safeguards Vaccine Refrigeration

7/19/2021

The ANSI Federation and standardization community are stepping up with guidance, resources, and initiatives to support public health and safety and the nation's recovery. Suggestions for news items may be submitted to [email protected]. All submissions are published at ANSI's discretion.

Standard for Vaccine Fridges Can Reduce Waste, Increase Efficiency for Vaccination Distributors

In an effort to improve vaccine storage equipment, a NSF International committee made up of stakeholders, including industry, government and public health groups, and members of NIST recently published a baseline set of equipment performance requirements for the safe storage of vaccines. The standard applies to medical fridges and freezers with temperature ranges that could be used for "most vaccines, including flu shots, almost all childhood vaccines, and even the COVID-19 vaccines, at least under some circumstances," according to NIST.

As part of the process, the committee developed a “vaccine simulation device,” or VSD — a stand-in for a vial of medication that would simulate what a real vaccine would experience, including temperature, in a fridge or freezer.

Ultimately, the new standard requires that units must make it physically impossible for vaccines to be placed, even accidentally, into areas of the unit where the temperature cannot be kept within an acceptable range. 

“If we can improve our vaccine storage equipment, we can go a long way toward reducing the incidence of vaccine waste,” said NIST researcher Michal Chojnacky.

The group also considered how the standard’s certification testing process should work. “We needed to make sure our methodology could easily be replicated by an independent test lab,” Chojnacky said. “NSF International has its own accredited lab doing the testing, but other labs can also get that accreditation and conduct their own tests for the certifications. We wanted to make sure the test is simple and repeatable, regardless of where it’s performed.”

Access more information about the standard via NIST's recent news item.

See more ANSI member efforts in the ANSI COVID-19 Resource Webpage Highlighting Standardization Community Response.

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