Vials labelled "Astra Zeneca COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed UK flag in this illustration taken March 10, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Higher temperatures increase the chances of risks to safe vaccine use and storage. To minimise such effects, the NHS has suggested collective measures which include controlling ambient temperature, assessing risks and continuous monitoring.

It advises that Covid-19 vaccines must be stored and used within temperatures specified by the manufacturer and MHRA-authorised conditions of use, to ensure their safety, quality and efficacy.

As ambient temperatures should not exceed 25°C, the maximum permissible storage temperature for all the Covid-19 vaccines authorised in the UK, care must be taken in venues that are susceptible to significant fluctuations in temperature such as vehicles, marquees, tents and some local community facilities.

Regular assessment in such cases in all areas in which vaccines may be stored, prepared and administered is suggested. Increased monitoring frequency, controlling ambient temperature — additional mechanical controls (e.g. portable air conditioning) etc. may be used.

It is also important to review the risk assessment frequently as conditions change. To reduce risks to the vaccine further, workflow management from storage and preparation to administration too is suggested.

Restricting the number of people working or waiting in the vaccine preparation area, and removing non-essential electrical equipment too is advised, as this may reduce the temperature slightly.

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