The new standard in vaccine storage safety

VaxShield states that ALL staff must be trained in regards to the safe storage of vaccines.

Why "all" staff?

Traditionally the caring of the vaccines was seen as a specific person’s role. They were the one that was fully trained and they were the one that handled the vaccines from the moment they arrived.

Strive For Five even stated that there had to be a single person responsible for this, and a backup person.

This focus on a key person had the side effect that others did not see it as their responsibility. This caused problems when the key person was away. 

It also meant that other critical staff, such as doctors, were not fully trained or held accountable.

Then the next tier out were receptionists. Since they weren’t seen as medical staff, it wasn’t seen as necessary to train them in regards to vaccines. The problem, however, is that they are often the ones who take receipt of deliveries and are often the first or last in the place. It is critical that the receptionist knows what to do when they unlock the door and hear the vaccine fridge in alarm.

But where problems were more common was with staff such as cleaners. They could disconnect a vaccine fridge to use the power point. This issue has been addressed in Strive For Five, but it does highlight how non-medical staff can impact the storage of vaccines.

Are there any exceptions?

There are some very large organisations that have vaccines on site, but staff that have absolutely nothing to do with them. A hospital is an example of such a place.

Our recommendation is to err on the side of caution and always include a brief section about vaccines within the induction training of all staff. This training can be limited to:

  • awareness that temperature sensitive items like vaccines are kept on site,
  • no staff should ever disconnect a fridge,
  • if they hear the fridge alarm, who to notify

If, however, you are after the exemption of who needs training then the following conditions need to be met:

  • they will NEVER be in the room or vicinity of a vaccine fridge,
  • they will NEVER be working on the power to vaccine fridges,
  • the will NEVER be taking possession of vaccines,
  • over 50% of the staff meet the above the criteria