Vaccine preparation is important in order to make sure that the patient remains safe during the process. There are a few tips to remember when handling vaccines. Make sure to prepare the vaccine away from a space that could potentially contaminate the vaccine. Always make sure to double check not only the expiration date on the vaccine, but that you are administering the correct vaccine for your patient. Lastly, only administer vaccines that you prepared so you know when the vaccine was unsealed, if it had been contaminated, and when it was removed from storage. There are three different types of vaccine vials, Single-Dose, Multi-dose, and Manufacturer-Filled Syringes, each with a slightly different way to prepare them.
A Manufacturer-Filled Syringe (MFS)already contains the correct dosage for the patient and is pre-sterilized by the manufacturer. The protective seal should only be broken right before administering the vaccine. Similarly, to the MFS, the single-dose vial only contains enough vaccine for one patient. However, the healthcare provider must fill the syringe on their own.
A single-dose vial (SDV) only contains one patient’s worth of a dose and should not be used for more than one patient. These do not contain any preservatives to prevent the growth of bacteria, so they should never be saved and combined in order to make a second dose. Once it is used, you should safely discard the remainders even if some is left over. As with most vaccines, only open the vial when ready to use and make sure you have the correct vaccine for your patient. Out of the three main types of vaccines, the multi-dose vial is the only one that can be safely stored for later.
Unlike an SDV, a multidose vial contains a preservative helping to prevent the growth of microorganisms so the vaccine can be used for multiple patients. However, you should only draw the maximum doses as indicated from the manufacturer’s package. Never use a partial dose from two or more vials to obtain an extra dose. After the maximum dosages has been reached, make sure to discard the vial safely even if it has not reached the expiration date and the vial still contains some vaccine.
It is good practice to only draw up a vaccine when you are ready to administer because it may become difficult to tell them apart once in the syringe. However, there may be instances when a vaccine must be pre-drawn. In this case make sure to safely store the vaccine in a cold refrigerator according to the manufacturers recommended temperature. If stored properly the vaccine can last the clinic day, however this is not the best practice. In an instance where the healthcare provider must draw up multiple syringes, each administrator should only draw one MDV or 10 doses at a time.