Storage units, especially freezers, can sometimes build up too much ice. When you need to defrost your VFC/VFAAR storage unit, TempCheck – our storage and handling coordinators – can help. TempCheck will help you safely storage the vaccine while you defrost the unit.
Use this guide to plan your defrost. Review it when you plan a defrost, and consult it during the defrost process.
If you have any questions, or if your vaccine is exposed to out-of-range temperatures during the defrost or transport process, contact TempCheck as soon as possible.
Adam Howsare and Alexis Bridges
Plan and prepare
- Contact TempCheck to tell them that you are planning to defrost your unit. TempCheck will need to know when you plan to defrost, and where your back-up unit is. TempCheck will send you a backup DDL to monitor the back-up unit. Keep the packing material so you can send the DDL back to PDPH.
- Prepare the back-up DDL.Â Once you get the back-up DDL, temper the probe by putting it in your primary freezer. After 30 minutes, start up the DDL. Monitor temperatures for at least 1 hour. Alternatively, place the probe in your unit overnight and start the DDL the next morning.
- Move the vaccine. It’s time to move the vaccine. Leave the primary DDL in your primary unit while you defrost the primary unit.
- If your back-up unit is on-site: Move the vaccine and back-up DDL to your secondary unit. Note the time.
- If your backup unit is off-site: using the emergency transport guide, set up a hard-sided cooler for transport. Move the back-up DDL to the cooler. Place the probe in the middle. Move the vaccine into the cooler. Note the time. Transport the vaccine directly to the back-up location. Note the time the vaccine and DDL are moved into the back-up unit.
Defrosting your unit
- Note the time when you start defrosting your primary unit. The DDL will warm up, which will probably trigger an alarm.
- Allow the ice in the unit to melt.
- Turn the freezer back on. Wait until the DDL shows that the temperature is back in the normal range.
- Transfer the vaccines back into the freezer, using the same transport protocol that you used to move them to the back-up unit.
Dealing with the data
- Download the data from both data loggers and email it to TempCheck@phila.gov.
- Include the following information in the email:
- When you took the vaccine out of the primary unit
- When you put the vaccine into the back-up unit
- When you started defrosting the primary unit
- When you took the vaccine out of the back-up unit
- When you put the vaccine back into the defrosted primary unit
- Reconnect the DDL and continue temperature monitoring as usual
- Repackage the back-up DDL and send it back to PDPH.