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89% of farm vaccine fridges stray outside temperature range

Picture of Rosie Lyle

FARM ANIMAL vaccinations could be losing efficacy because of varying temperatures in farm fridges.

Vaccines should be stored at between 2C-8C to maintain their efficacy.

See also: Three ways to reduce salmonella risk on poultry farms

A new study has logged the minimum and maximum temperatures of 18 farm fridges used to store vaccines.

It found most strayed out of that range at least once.

Almost half (43%) recorded temperatures outside this range more than 50% of the time.

Less effective

The study, which was supported by MSD, was led by Rosie Lyle of Bishopton Veterinary Group.

Vaccines may be less effective if stored outside the temperature range recommended by the manufacturer, and temperatures below freezing are a particular risk.

In this study, loggers in a third (33%) of farm fridges recorded a temperature below freezing at least once, with one fridge reaching a minimum temperature of -11.5C.

Live vaccines

High temperatures can also reduce efficacy, particularly for live vaccines. Loggers in over half (55%) of the fridges in this study recorded at least one temperature over 8C, and the maximum temperature recorded was 12C.

Ms Lyle said: “By using max/min thermometers or temperature loggers and monitoring them at least daily, farmers will be able to pick up on problems quickly.

“If in any doubt about disrupted storage conditions, it’s always worth consulting with the manufacturer to work out if it’s still appropriate to use the vaccines.”

Positioning

It is also worth considering where a fridge is positioned. “The external environment can affect fridge conditions, so it’s important to keep the fridge in an area where it’s protected from extreme temperatures,” Ms Lyle added.

“It’s also worth making sure the fridge is far enough away from walls to allow adequate airflow and checking there isn’t too much dirt or debris built up in the grill at the bottom.”

Farmers should promptly store vaccines upon delivery, she added.

Bishopton Veterinary Group is a member of XL Vets, a community of independent veterinary practices, and is running a course on safe and effective medication use and storage.

More information can be found on its website.