A vaccine cold chain freezing study in PNG highlights technology needs for hot climate countries

Vaccine. 2007 Jan 8;25(4):691-7. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2006.08.028. Epub 2006 Aug 31.


Fourteen data loggers were packed with vaccine vials at the national vaccine store, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG), and sent to peripheral locations in the health system. The temperatures that the data loggers recorded during their passage along the cold chain indicated that heat damage was unlikely, but that all vials were exposed to freezing temperatures at some time. The commonest place where freezing conditions existed was during transport. The freezing conditions were likely induced by packing the vials too close to the ice packs that were themselves too cold, and with insufficient insulation between them. This situation was rectified and a repeat dispatch of data loggers demonstrated that the system had indeed been rectified. Avoiding freeze damage becomes even more important as the price of freeze-sensitive vaccines increases with the introduction of more multiple-antigen vaccines. This low-cost high-tech method of evaluating the cold chain function is highly recommended for developing and industrialized nations and should be used on a regular basis to check the integrity of the vaccine cold chain. The study highlights the need for technological solutions to avoid vaccine freezing, particularly in hot climate countries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Drug Stability
  • Drug Storage
  • Freezing
  • Humans
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Refrigeration / instrumentation
  • Refrigeration / standards*
  • Transportation
  • Tropical Climate
  • Vaccines* / supply & distribution


  • Vaccines