Who We Represent
Vaccine Storage Recommendations
Vaccines are a crucial part of the healthcare system, and their effectiveness depends on appropriate conditions and regulated temperatures. “Proper vaccine storage and handling practices play a very important role in protecting individuals and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases,” according to the CDC. “Vaccine quality is the shared responsibility of everyone, from the time the vaccine is manufactured until it is administered.”
The CDC offers a variety of vaccine storage resources, including temperature monitoring and storage best practices and a Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit.
General CDC vaccine storage guidelines include:
- Maintain an accurate refrigerator temperature range of 2°C to 8°C with an ideal temperature of 5°C.
- Frozen vaccines should be kept within a range of -50°C to -15°C.
- Do not freeze refrigerated vaccines (except for MMR, which can be either frozen or refrigerated).
- If the Beyond Use Date (BUD) is not indicated on the vaccine, the expiration date provided by the manufacturer should be used.
- It’s best to store vaccines in stand-alone refrigerators or freezers.
It’s also important to ensure your vaccine storage refrigerators have alarms and temperature monitoring that provides quick notifications (both locally and remote) of adverse operating conditions.
- Q: What size unit do you need?
- A: We have options from small table top, undercounter, all the way to 72 cuft, 3 door units.
- Q: Glass or solid door?
- A: A solid door would be used is you plan to store light sensitive product.
- Q: If choosing a freezer, do you need auto or manual defrost.
- A:The Defrost Cycle is the method in which the ice on the evaporator coils is removed. For vaccine freezers, there are two types of “defrost” freezers: Manual and Auto Defrost. Below are the differences and advantages/disadvantages of the two types.Manual Defrost freezers as the name suggest have to be manually defrosted by turning the freezer off or unplugging the unit. Although the defrosting of manual defrost freezers is inconvenient due to the necessity to empty the freezer and clean up after the melted ice, they do offer advantages. The key advantage is the absence of warm temperature spikes that are present with an auto defrost freezer. These temperature spikes do in fact damage some medical and scientific products. It is this reason that these types of freezers are recommended for vaccine storage by the CDC and VFC (Vaccines for Children).Auto Defrost freezers incorporate a timer and a heater attached to the evaporator coils to assist in the defrost cycle. When a defrost cycle starts the compressor is turned off and the heater turns on. The heater melts the ice that has collected on the evaporator coils. During the cycle the inside of the freezer will warm up. How much depends on the unit but it is not uncommon to see a 5°C to -10°C degree warm-up. When the cycle ends the heater is turned off and the compressor turns on. This cycle can happen several times during the day. The clear advantage of an auto defrost freezer is the ease of maintenance and no need to remove your product from the freezer. The disadvantage is most vaccines are sensitive to this warm up and could damage the vaccine.