Restaurant operators have generously been offering their fridges as storage space to speed up the UK’s vaccine roll-out this week – but one refrigeration manufacturer today urged caution against the practicalities of that in some cases.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at regular fridge temperatures, prompting hospitality businesses that currently remain closed to volunteer their premises as ‘vaccination stations’.
However, manufacturer Hoshizaki said it was important to note that not all commercial refrigerators are up to the job, even if they have previously been used in professional foodservice environments.
Simon Frost, director of the UK and Ireland, said the healthcare sector should specifically avoid using climate class 3 or lower rated refrigerators for vaccine storage purposes.
This is because unlike a commercial or climate class 4 or 5 refrigerator, a domestic, climate class 3 (or lower rated) refrigerator is unable to maintain a stable and safe storage temperature when the door of the appliance is opened multiple times a day, he said.
“Given that designated AstraZeneca vaccination venues will be vaccinating patients countless times per day, the door of the refrigerator will in turn need to be opened frequently in order for the vaccine to be retrieved on a patient-by-patient basis.
“A domestic, Climate Class 3 (or lower) rated refrigerator is simply not designed to be opened to this high level, and therefore will not be able to maintain safe, storage temperatures for the vaccine. It is therefore critical that designated vaccination venues use a commercial, Climate Class 4 or higher rated refrigerator for storing the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
Mr Frost said Hoshizaki was currently prioritising enquires and orders made by healthcare venues.
“Due to the significant storage differences required for the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines, we would recommend a Hoshizaki refrigerator such as those within our new Gram Compact range, for the former, whilst for the Pfizer vaccine we would suggest a model from our BioLine models which are equipped to store vaccines at the required -70C temperature.”