Fifty pediatric offices and clinics in the metropolitan Los Angeles area were visited to assess vaccine storage practices. Questionnaires were administered to the personnel responsible for vaccine storage and the vaccine refrigerators were inspected. Only 16% of vaccine storage coordinators could cite appropriate storage temperatures for vaccines and 18% were unaware that heat can harm certain vaccines. Refrigerator thermometers were checked at least weekly in only 20% of offices, and 22% of the refrigerators had inappropriately high temperatures. Vaccines were routinely stored outside of the refrigerator uninsulated during the practice day in 16% of the offices visited. It is concluded that vaccine storage errors occur in pediatric offices at an unacceptably high frequency. Pediatricians should familiarize themselves with the guidelines for optimal vaccine storage in order to minimize the potential for vaccine failure in primary care practice.

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