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Best Practices for Transporting Vaccines

Joe Dickman | October 7th, 2020

The transportation of vaccines is a critical service that has been responsible for saving lives the world over. While the CDC doesn’t recommend transporting vaccines, some circumstances do necessitate travel from one location to another. From the moment they leave the manufacturer until they end up with the administering medical professional, many steps are necessary to ensure the safety of the vaccine. Here are the best practices for transporting vaccines.

Keeping the Right Temperature

The most significant risk when moving any vaccines is that they will end up outside of their optimal temperature range. The best way to prevent this is to ensure that they use proper packing and insulation. While commercially available coolers might be less expensive, they often don’t come with enough insulation, potentially allowing outside temperatures to affect the vaccines. You also shouldn’t use gel or coolant freezer packs, as these might cause the vaccines to freeze.

Proper Packing Procedure

Several steps are necessary to ensure that the vaccines are secure for their trip. Frozen water bottles are a popular way to control the temperature while also preventing the vaccines from moving around in the coolers. Packing materials like bubble wrap or cardboard are also good options to keep the inventory safe. It is also best to include a thermometer that an attendant can monitor without opening the coolers to prevent temperature fluctuations.

Choosing the Proper Vehicle

One of the most important steps is to ensure that the vehicle that you are using to transport the vaccines can handle the necessary extra precautions. While it might be easier to just throw everything into a rental van or trunk of a car, either of these can severely compromise the effectiveness of the vaccines. It is also critical that one never exposes the containers with the vaccines to direct sunlight. Due to all of the extra precautions, purchasing the right commercial refrigerated trucks can ensure that vaccine deliveries are safe and to specification. Another thing to consider when selecting the right truck for the job is to choose one that is the proper length to handle all the inventory.

Many rules are in place to ensure that you are following the best practices for transporting vaccines. At Emerald Transportation Solutions, we aim to provide the top service vehicles for all your professional delivery needs.

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What does under DOT mean?

Questions regarding DOT requirements come up often. 10,000 lbs GVW (gross vehicle weight) and over are commercial vehicles that fall under the Department of Transportation regulatory requirements.

What is the difference between GVW and payload?

GVW or Gross Vehicle Weight is the entire weight of the vehicle including the payload. The payload weight represents the amount of cargo you are hauling.

What is a self-powered unit and a vehicle-powered unit?

A self-powered unit has its own fuel source and will run independent of the truck. This is the heaviest and most expensive option. While vehicle-powered units run off the engine via a compressor mounted on the engine. These are less expensive and lighter in weight but you must run the truck or plug the electric standby into shore power.

What does K-factor mean and why is that important?

K-factor is a term that stands for the overall insulating value of the container (truck body). Quite simply the lower the K-factor the better the truck body will be able to maintain a given temperature and require less energy to do so.

How much lighter is a Poly Van vs a US spec body?

Poly Van bodies are very light. On average we estimate we are 75-150 lbs per foot lighter than a traditional sheet and post foamed in place body. These weight savings translates to less fuel burn and less CO2 emissions, along with added payload, the most important benefit.

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