The maintenance of the cold chain in the delivery and storage of pharmaceuticals and vaccines in the UK is subject to a very vigorous and robust procedure.

This policy covers storage of medicines, cold chain pharmaceuticals and vaccines on wards and in departments external to pharmacy within Ashford & St. Peter’s hospitals NHS Trust.

All pharmaceuticals and vaccines supplied by pharmacy clearly display the recommended storage conditions on the packaging. Pharmacy will also reinforce this by the addition of a bright orange additional label. It is good practice to physically check the labelled storage conditions for each delivery on receipt on ward / departments.

The efficacy and safety of pharmaceuticals, including vaccines, requiring controlled low temperature storage depends on maintaining temperatures within the manufacturers’ recommended range. If the storage recommendations are not followed patients could be put at risk, by products by being ineffective or hazardous and manufacturers can disclaim responsibility for any apparent failure of the product.

Inadequate temperature control during storage of vaccines can compromise attainment of a satisfactory level of immunity.

Freezing of fridge line products can irreversibly denature proteins (e.g., in insulins) and products such as emulsions may become physically unstable. Freezing of non fridge line products can also produce hairline cracks in ampoules and vials.


Policy Details

Download: N/A
Compiled by: Shirley Clifton, Pharmacy Operations Manager
Ratified by: Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professional Board (NMAB)
Date Ratified: November 2022
Date Issued: November 2022
Review Date: November 2023
Target Audience: All wards and departmental nursing staff; Occupational Health staff
Contact name: Shirley Clifton, Pharmacy Operations Manager


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