Friday, July 30, 2010

Awaiting Vaccines.

I ordered vaccines online. This makes me nervous. I used to buy them individually at a Corvallis feed store. Given two day shipping rates, required for perishable vaccine shipment, buying individually at that one feed store was far more cost effective. Until they doubled the price of a single three way vaccine.

Now it's far cheaper to buy online even with the two day perishable shipping rates.

It does make me nervous, however. Vaccines must be maintained between temps of 35 and 46 degrees. Any higher for even a short period of time and they are supposedly no longer useful to provide any protection.

I have been carefully tracking the shipment. It was loaded onto a truck in Corvallis this morning. I would think Fedex would deliver items marked as perishable first, but I doubt they alter their regular route one bit to make sure perishable items arrive still "unperished". The truck has not delivered here yet.

I have a thermometer. When a vaccine shipment arrives, I pop the thermometer into the container they've arrived in first thing. If the temp is over the acceptable storage temp for vaccines, upon arrival, I have no recourse but to figure they're no good. So, I am nervous when I order vaccines until a thermometer shows an acceptable temperature in the package.

If it doesn't, and I've never been in that position, I guess I'd have to stop payment through my credit card and deal with the company selling them. I hope this is a decent company who packed them sufficiently to maintain the acceptable temperature range. I am crossing my fingers. This is a commonly used well rated online supply company, or so I'm told by countless others who use it. I've bought other items from them, but never vaccines. Vaccines are a different type of purchase altogether. I would never know, for instance, if they, at their warehouse, maintain the acceptable temperature range on vaccines with diligence.

I'm not very trusting of business practise in general. My experience has been most companies if they feel they can get away with something and never be caught will do just that. I remember the stories about either the Petco or Petsmart warehouse in one state, shut down, for unimaginable conditions, rodents and rot everywhere, contaminating pet food that was then being sent out and sold at high prices.

My trust of businesses acting ethically, even when no one is watching, that's long gone.

The vaccine degradation with temperature invokes my curiosity. What is it in a vaccine that degrades with temperature? Does bacteria grow? Two vial vaccines, one containing distilled water, the other powder, that you then mix, might be less prone to degradation through non regulated temperature environments? The vials themselves are supposedly vaccuum sealed. In other words, there is allegedly no air inside the vials, which promotes bacteria growth. I know there are anearobic bacteria, however. Or is it something else about temperature that degrades the vaccine?

How have they tested vaccines to find out how long it takes at inappropriate temperature storage to render them useless? Are killed virus vaccines as unstable as modified live vaccines? I just start wondering these things.

There were lots of stories last summer with the H1N1 vaccination promotion, about people being called back in, to be revaccinated, because vaccines were improperly stored and therefore, supposedly, ineffective at providing protection.

I think vaccine is grown in chicken eggs. Chicken egg mediums I suppose are highly prone to bacteria growth during production and afterwards.

Update: It's almost 4:00 p.m. now. The vaccines were loaded onto a Fed Ex truck in Corvallis this morning, but have yet to arrive. I cannot imagine, if they have not been refrigerated on the hot truck, that they will be in viable condition for use, after 8 hours on a delivery truck. But, maybe they put items labeled perishable into refrigeration. I hope so, because man alive.

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