After the spread of coronavirus from metropolitan areas to remote Aboriginal communities. There is a rush for vaccinations in New South Wales. This has resulted in a state-wide lockdown.
Our focus now shifts to how fast we can deliver COVID-19 vaccines across vast distances. Far away from vaccine warehouses in cities, and into the hands of remote Australians.
Transporting vaccines to remote Australia by truck is not a new task. There are many challenges to overcome in order to transport vaccines to remote Australia at the correct temperature.
Here are some practical issues that nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healthcare practitioners. Community workers, pharmacists, and others will face when vaccines being transport long distances by road or air.
It’s a Long Road Remote
Transporting vaccines is difficult because of the distances between Australia and remote communities. There are also environmental extremes like freezing winter nights or scorching summer days. And monsoonal rains or cyclones that can disrupt transport services. Making it difficult for people to travel in remote areas for several weeks.
It can be difficult to keep vaccines at the correct temperature for long distances over several days or weeks. But vaccines are temperature-sensitive products, and their effectiveness is dependent on correct storage. A vaccine that store too hot or cold can cause damage and may not work as well.
It is crucial to maintain vaccines at the correct temperature in order to ensure their safety.
AstraZeneca COVID Vaccination Remote
Non-COVID vaccines, including the AstraZeneca COVID vaccination, must follow the recommended cold chain between the place of manufacture and administration in the community.
The Pfizer COVID vaccine has different storage and transport requirements. The vaccine be kept in an unopen vial for at least two weeks in a domestic freezer between -25 and 15 degrees Celsius.
You can also store unopened vials at home in the refrigerator between 2-8 degrees Celsius for up to five working days. After a Pfizer vaccine thaw, it not again be frozen.
Keeping vaccines at the temperature recommended for long distances can be difficult. Regular eskies and styrofoam containers often insufficient, especially if the transit time is expected to take three to four days. Special infrastructure is require to transport vaccines to remote Australia. This includes dedicated vaccine fridges as well as insulated containers.
If vaccines are exposed at temperatures beyond the recommended range due to a cold-chain break, they may be damaged and need to be thrown out.
Over a five-year span, these breaches have cost the Australian healthcare system at least A$25.9million in replacement vaccines. This figure is pre-COVID. It is possible that the number is higher if you include cold-chain violations with COVID vaccines.
Remote Australia is at high risk.
All Employees Need To Know
Every member of staff involved in vaccination must be aware of the importance and risks associated with breaking the cold chain.
This includes understanding how to properly pack vaccines in an insulated container (such a vaccine coldbox, esky, or styrofoam styrofoam styrofoam styrofoam styrofoam styrofoam styrofoam styrofoam styrofoam styrofoam styrofo what to do to respond to cold-chain break
There are not many training materials for vaccine cold chain in remote Australia. It’s also difficult to ensure that everyone in the chain is receiving the correct training, given the high turnover of staff.
We Created A Remote Video
Flinders University’s team collaborated with Irene Nangala, a Pintupi elder who is also the director of Western Desert Nganampa Walytjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation(Purple House). This organisation controll by Aboriginal communities in Alice Springs. They made a short educational video called Vaccine Story.
This video shows the culturally appropriate journey that a vaccine makes from a supply center to remote Australian communities.
This video is available for free to non-clinical staff who might not receive professional training and updates.