A sample of vaccines given to low-income children for free were not always stored at the correct temperature, potentially reducing their efficacy and potency, according to an investigation by the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
Inspectors visited 45 providers in high-volume areas who were enrolled in the CDC's Vaccines for Children program. None of the providers followed all of the vaccine management requirements. Overall, 76% kept vaccines at an inappropriate temperature for at least 5 cumulative hours during a 2-week period. On the day of the site visit, these providers together had about 9200 vaccine doses, valued at nearly $369,000.
Thirteen healthcare providers stored expired vaccines in the same area as nonexpired vaccines, increasing the risk for accidentally administering outdated vaccines.
The OIG reminds clinicians to store vaccines at the appropriate temperature (35-46 degrees F for refrigeration storage, at or below 5 degrees F for freezer) and to separate expired vaccines from nonexpired ones.