Table 3.

Vaccine Vial Monitors: Saving Money, Saving Lives (16)

A vaccine vial monitor (VVM) is a label that contains a heat sensitive material that is placed on a vaccine vial to register cumulative heat exposure over time. The inner square of the VVM is made of heat sensitive material that is light at the starting point and becomes darker with exposure to heat.
After an earthquake in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, much of the health infrastructure and electricity was lost for several days, resulting in nonfunctional refrigerators. Despite the heat, VVMs revealed that most vaccines were not damaged and were able to be used, resulting in the saving of 50,000 doses, which would have been otherwise needlessly discarded.
Since their introduction in 1996, more than 2 billion VVMs have been used. The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nation Children’s Fund estimate that VVMs will allow health care workers to recognize and replace more than 230 million doses of inactive vaccine and to deliver 1.4 billion more doses in remote settings, saving at least US $5 million each year.
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WHO/Umit Kartoglu, Bandung, Indonesia
VVMs allow for use of a controlled temperature chain, which would achieve the following:
  • Reduce costs and system constraints

  • Reach more people

  • Target appropriate groups

    • (Infants; hepatitis B birth dose; pregnant females: tetanus toxoid; and adolescent girls: human papillomavirus)

  • Reduce the risk of vaccine freezing