Vaccine Storage Guidelines

Here at CSK Group, we regularly receive enquiries about the storage of vaccines. Vaccines are sensitive biological substances. They can have their potency reduced, or destroyed altogether, when stored below +2°C, above +8°C, and when exposed to light.

The National Vaccine Storage Guidelines – ‘Strive for 5’ – outlines the requirements and best practices for the management of vaccine storage. According to these guidelines, a ‘cold chain breach’ has occurred if vaccine storage temperatures have been outside the recommended range of +2°C to +8°C. It excludes fluctuations up to +12°C, lasting no longer than 15 minutes, as may occur when stock taking or restocking refrigerators[1].

Our  are purpose-built for the safe storage of vaccines and medical products. Unlike a regular refrigerator, the temperature within the cabinet is uniform, stable and controlled between +2°C and +8°C. These specialist refrigerators alarm if the temperature is out of range and when the door is left open. The inbuilt data logger with memory keeps track of the temperature inside the cabinet, how often the door is opened, and when alarms occurred. It is simple to comply with temperature recording requirements, as this data can be easily downloaded using a USB.

By using a purpose-built fridge and implementing procedures in the National Vaccine Storage Guidelines, any cold chain breaches can be identified and managed before vaccines are damaged or ineffective vaccines are administered.

For more information about our Pinnacle Pharmacy Refrigerators, contact our Customer Service team on 1300 358 045 or

[1]Vaccine Storage Guidelines 2013, Strive for 5, 2nd Edition: 2

Heat waves and refrigeration

Currently, vast areas of Australia are experiencing extreme heat conditions. During these hot conditions, we rely more than ever on our refrigerators to keep things cool. However, if the temperature of the room (ambient temperature) where the fridge or freezer is stored rises as well, it can fail to keep the inside of the device at the required temperature and cause the compressor to overwork. When storing temperature-sensitive products, a breach in cold chain protocols can cost organisations thousands of dollars.

In order to keep the contents of a cabinet cold, the refrigerant (a liquid stored at high pressure) absorbs the heat inside the fridge and evaporates into gas. Then the compressor pushes the vapour at high pressure through the coils on the outside of the refrigerator, where the cooler air of the room condenses the gas to liquid, and so the cycle continues.

If the ambient temperature in the room is similar or above the temperature of the gas, the heat won’t transfer into the air and the gas won’t be converted to liquid as efficiently. As a result, the compressor will overwork and struggle to remove heat from the inside of the unit. This can damage the temperature-sensitive products.

Here at CSK Group, we have engineered the Pinnacle fridges and freezers with specific consideration to the harsh Australian conditions. Our ‘S’ series units are rated to operate effectively in temperatures up to 32°C and 60% RH (relative humidity), which is best suited to the Australian market. These products are the least likely to fail during extreme heat conditions.

So, what can be done to reduce failure rates and power consumption of refrigerators and freezers? Use an air conditioner to maintain the ambient temperature below the manufacturer guidelines and regularly service your unit to ensure it is operating efficiently. Taking these simple steps will help ensure the products you store are kept safe and save money and inconvenience in the future.

The effect of flu season on your vaccine refrigerator

It is very easy coming into the flu season to run short on space in your vaccine refrigerator.  Many pharmacies and medical centres stock up on flu vaccines, but this can cause your vaccine refrigerator to have insufficient airflow. The airflow can be almost completely cut off when boxes and bags are pushed up against the fan. Low and uneven airflow causes two major problems.  The first is the temperature that your product is maintaining; it is common with over loading of a refrigerator to have areas that are very cold and others that are very hot.  Once the ice build-up starts it is very unlikely it will clear without doing a manual defrost. As more ice builds, the lower air flow, and the cycle continues until the temperature rises above the alarm point.


The good news is that CSK Group differs from other suppliers. We offer a hire and rent to buy options to eligible customers to get them through the busy season.  Contact our friendly staff today to discuss options on getting through the flu season.  Hire equipment is subject to availability, so book in early.

Maintenance and Service

Just like cars, refrigeration items work best if they are serviced regularly. Organising a service on your existing laboratory, research and medical equipment has never been easier.  With a centralised phone number (1300 358 045), you can reach one of our friendly staff 24 hours a day.  It doesn’t matter if you are located in a remote area or in the city, we will be able to assist you.  CSK Group has also invested in software to track all works carried out on your equipment.  The history of when your item was last serviced, NATA calibrated or when the last time a part was replaced, can be easily retrieved.


This is exceptionally useful when our customers have an upcoming NATA audit.  Many hospitals, universities and pathology laboratories are required to keep maintenance records for equipment and CSK Group will maintain electronic records for the life of your equipment. Contact us today to organise a service!

Equipment Monitoring Made Easy

The main reason for losing a research sample, drug or vaccine, blood or any item kept at a controlled temperature is not knowing that they have moved outside of their given temperature and humidity range.  The good news is in recent times CSK Group has tested and developed monitoring equipment to notify you as soon as a breach is detected.


We have developed a bolt-on solution for any refrigerator and freezer that will work with any brand.  We are able to monitor the temperature in your ultra-low laboratory freezer, controlled environment room, walk in freezer and cold room to pharmacy refrigerator and attach it to an auto dialler that will call pre-set numbers and notify you.  CSK Group also has a SMS service that works through the GSM network.


When ordering a new Pinnacle item be sure to talk to our friendly sales and technical support team to ensure your new item meets your monitoring requirements.


We also work with many building management systems and in many cases, we are able to use a zone on your existing building security system, making the hardware costs minimal.  We have a solution for your application, so call us today for ideas and support to set up your equipment today.

Stock Loss Prevention

When operating a busy pharmacy, the last thing you want to hear when you open the doors in the morning is your pharmacy refrigerator in alarm.  Many of our early morning enquiries are from pharmacies seeking urgent assistance with their vaccine refrigerator in alarm.  Unfortunately, in most cases, the refrigerator failed at some point during the night and no one was notified.  There is often no way of knowing exactly when the cold chain breach occurred and it results in a total stock loss.  The down time, loss of sales and cost of the stock loss, can significantly impact on the business, particularly leading into flu season when the vaccine refrigerators are filled to capacity. The good news is that there are easy solutions to avoid this problem.


We at CSK Group pride ourselves on reducing our customers’ stock loss and these are our 5 top tips:


1) Monitor 24 hours a day

Monitoring your refrigerator 24 hours a day hasn’t been easier or more cost effective. With CSK Group’s automatic phone dialler, you will be notified of any equipment failure and allow you to move your stock to a safe location. See our articles on equipment monitors for more information.

2) Service and Maintenance

Organising CSK Group to service your vaccine refrigerator every 6 months will significantly reduce the chances of failure.  The benefits don’t stop there: you will also increase the usable life of your refrigerator and also in many cases reduce running costs.

3) Overloading leads to failure

Don’t overload your pharmacy refrigerator.  All too often we are called to a failing refrigerator and it’s due to overloading and blocked airflow.  This can cause irregular temperatures throughout the product and this can result in refrigerator ice ups.

4) Plan B

All mechanical equipment can fail at some point so having a plan B is a must.  Knowing where and what you will do with a refrigerator full of vaccines will give you and your staff peace of mind.

5) Log your temperatures

Use a data logger to monitor the temperature so you know exactly how long the cold chain breach occurred – sometimes a very brief breach is ok, but it’s important to know how long it has been.  CSK has many cost-effective solutions for your existing refrigerators or if you have a new generation Pinnacle Pharmacy Refrigerator this feature is built in!


With these 5 tips you will be sure to have minimal stock loss.  If you want further information, please contact our friendly staff.