With the COVID vaccine distribution underway, health agencies across the world are quickly having to navigate how to safely and effectively distribute, store and manage these vaccines. A big part of this conversation revolves around how to manage and utilize ultra-low temperature freezers that keep vaccines within an acceptable temperature range before use. After all, if the vaccines are exposed to temperatures outside their acceptable range, potency is compromised.

Consider the recent case where one Northern California hospital experienced a freezer failure where a freezer housing 830 doses of the Moderna vaccine stopped working, only to have the problem noticed hours later. With the doses quickly thawing, the medical staff had just two hours to administer all of the vaccines before they were rendered no longer viable. While the hospital was able to administer all the vaccines, you can imagine the scramble that ensued in those two hours — and what could have happened if the problem was discovered just a little later on.

Drawing upon the expertise of biorepository managers and industry vendors, the International Society for the Biological and Environmental Repositories, otherwise known as ISBER, has organized a list of best practices for ultra-low temperature freezer management and use. Designed to offer a consensus view from the biobanking community, the ISBER best practices cover everything from freezer installation and operation to maintenance — with the collective goal of helping health agencies avoid the common pitfalls of ultra-low temperature storage.

You can find a link to the press release here, and a link to the one-page ISBER resource here.

Have questions on lab freezer management and use, or looking for solutions to streamline these efforts? Find useful best practices and information in additional posts on the CORIS blog — and when you’re ready, contact us to get the conversation started.

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