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 during the defrost or transport process, contact TempCheck as soon as possible. If your vaccine is exposed to out-of-range temperatures during the defrost process, download the DDL file and emial it to TempCheck@phila.gov right away. Follow TempCheck’s instructions to confirm the viability of the vaccines. Do not use the vaccines until the viability has been confirmed.

TempCheck
Adam Howsare and Alexis Bridges
TempCheck@phila.gov
215-685-6777

Plan and prepare

  1. 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.
  2. Prepare the back-up DDL. 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.
  3. Move the vaccine. It’s time to move the vaccine. Leave the primary DDL in your primary unit while you defrost the primary unit.
    1. If your back-up unit is on-site: Move the vaccine and back-up DDL to your secondary unit. Note the time.
    2. If your backup unit is off-site: using the transport guidance in your Emergency Management Plan, 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

  1. Note the time when you start defrosting your primary unit. The DDL will warm up, which will probably trigger an alarm.
  2. Allow the ice in the unit to melt.
  3. Turn the freezer back on. Wait until the DDL shows that the temperature is back in the normal range.
  4. 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

  1. Download the data from both data loggers and email it to TempCheck@phila.gov.
  2. Include the following information in the email:
    1. When you took the vaccine out of the primary unit
    2. When you put the vaccine into the back-up unit
    3. When you started defrosting the primary unit
    4. When you took the vaccine out of the back-up unit
    5. When you put the vaccine back into the defrosted primary unit
  3. Reconnect the DDL and continue temperature monitoring as usual
  4. Repackage the back-up DDL and send it back to PDPH.