Cold-Chain Adaptability During Introduction of Inactivated Polio Vaccine in Bangladesh, 2015


Background: Introduction of inactivated polio vaccine creates challenges in maintaining the cold chain for vaccine storage and distribution. Methods. We evaluated the cold chain in 23 health facilities and 36 outreach vaccination sessions in 8 districts and cities of Bangladesh, using purposive sampling during August–October 2015. We interviewed immunization and cold-chain staff, assessed equipment, and recorded temperatures during vaccine storage and transportation. Results: All health facilities had functioning refrigerators, and 96% had freezers. Temperature monitors were observed in all refrigerators and freezers but in only 14 of 66 vaccine transporters (21%). Recorders detected temperatures >8°C for >60 minutes in 5 of 23 refrigerators (22%), 3 of 6 cold boxes (50%) transporting vaccines from national to subnational depots, and 8 of 48 vaccine carriers (17%) used in outreach vaccination sites. Temperatures <2°C were detected in 4 of 19 cold boxes (21%) transporting vaccine from subnational depots to health facilities and 14 of 48 vaccine carriers (29%). Conclusions: Bangladesh has substantial cold-chain storage and transportation capacity after inactivated polio vaccine introduction, but temperature fluctuations during vaccine transport could cause vaccine potency loss that could go undetected. Bangladesh and other countries should strive to ensure consistent and sufficient cold-chain storage and monitor the cold chain during vaccine transportation at all levels.