July 2, 2021
GAVIRATE, ITALY, July 2, 2021 – UL, the global safety science leader, has announced that its Performance Laboratory in Gavirate received World Health Organization (WHO) accreditation as a designated third-party testing laboratory for refrigeration equipment, including refrigerators and freezers, used for the storage of vaccines. In addition, the WHO accreditation allows UL to carry out full quality assurance testing – on-site installation and commissioning – of solar powered refrigerator systems.
UL’s accreditation is part of WHO’s Performance, Quality and Safety (PQS) process, which prequalifies products and devices for WHO member states and United Nations’ purchasing agencies to help assure the suitability of products and devices for use in immunization programs. A manufacturer certified according to the WHO program is included in the WHO database, a resource used by those who need refrigeration equipment for a vaccination campaign. Before a product or device can be added to the PQS database, it must be tested. With the WHO accreditation, UL will now be performing these necessary tests to verify whether products from specific manufacturers satisfy PQS performance and quality.
UL received the PQS accreditation for refrigeration equipment and devices after demonstrating its competency by conforming to appropriate internationally or national accepted standards or codes of practice to a third-party accreditation body.
UL’s accreditation comes at a time when communities around the world are administering the COVID-19 vaccine. Producing and storing enough immunizations to end the pandemic is one of the biggest medical manufacturing efforts in history. In some cases, Coronavirus vaccines require storage in an environment as low as minus 70 degrees Celsius. Adequate refrigeration levels must be maintained throughout manufacturing, storage and distribution of vaccines to ensure integrity of vaccine compounds. When vaccinations are not stored at correct temperatures, they become ineffective, resulting in the need to discard doses.
Alessio Dellanoce, general manager of UL’s Appliances, HVAC and Lighting division in Europe, said, “As billions worldwide eagerly await a COVID-19 vaccine, government agencies, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare organizations globally continue to scale up vaccine storage capabilities. Maintaining large vaccination quantities in an environment that preserves vaccination efficacy and provides patients with intended benefit is key to help eradicating COVID-19 spread. UL is honored to be recognized by the World Health Organization as one of its accredited laboratories and to play a key part in the overall protection of public health globally.”
With the WHO accreditation, UL will test solar-powered refrigeration equipment based on new WHO product standards. Solar-powered refrigeration equipment is seen as critical for vaccine effectiveness in developing countries without a reliable electricity grid.
“The World Health Organization’s approach to refrigeration products’ prequalification means that selected equipment and devices have met specific performance and quality standards that are appropriate for field conditions to help ensure that the vaccine is stored according to the most appropriate conditions,” Dellanoce said. “UL’s accreditation ensures we offer competent testing to the WHO requirements while also strengthening the reliability of the world’s immunization storage infrastructure.”
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