6.5.1  Monitoring the temperature of your vaccine refrigerator

It is important to monitor the temperature of the main section of a refrigerator, so that you can ensure that it stays within the acceptable range for storage of vaccines.

  • What is the acceptable temperature range for vaccine storage?

  • It is between +2ºC and +8ºC.

To monitor the temperature of your refrigerator, you will need a thermometer and a temperature chart (see Figure 6.14), which you should tape to the outside of the refrigerator door. Then follow the steps in Box 6.5.

Figure 6.14  Temperature chart, showing the safe temperature range and unsafe temperatures that require adjustment of the thermostat, or checking that the refrigerator is working properly. (Source: WHO, 2004, as in Figure 6.1, p.23)

Box 6.5  Guidelines for monitoring the refrigerator temperature

  • Set the refrigerator thermostat during the coldest part of the day to around +2ºC to +4ºC.
  • Measure the temperature of the refrigerator first thing in the morning and before you leave the Health Post in the evening. If the temperature is between +2ºC to +8ºC, do not adjust the thermostat.
  • Record the temperature at least twice every day (every morning and every evening, seven days a week) on the refrigerator temperature chart, as shown in Figure 6.14.

When a temperature monitoring chart has been completed, replace it with a new one. Keep the completed charts in a record book for future reference. Action should be taken when the temperature goes out of the safe range, as illustrated in the example in Figure 6.14.

  • According to Figure 6.14, what was the temperature of the refrigerator on the 7th day of the month: (a) in the morning, and (b) in the evening? Would any action have been required to adjust the temperature on that day, and if so, what should that action be?

  • Based on the temperature chart in Figure 6.14, you should have noticed that:

    • a.In the morning of the 7th day of the month, the temperature of the refrigerator was about +2ºC, which is within the acceptable temperature range. No adjustment was needed.
    • b.In the evening, the temperature had dropped to below +1ºC, which is below the acceptable range. The thermostat should have been adjusted to ‘warmer’, as described in the next section.

6.5  Maintaining the correct temperature of cold chain equipment

6.5.2  Adjusting the temperature of your vaccine refrigerator