Vaccine Storage and Handling Guidance


Updated March 2019

Vaccine Storage and Ha​​ndling

Guidance for vaccine storage and monitoring is developed by experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State Vaccine for Children (VFC) programs require that participating practices implement this guidance as a minimum. They may also choose to require stricter criteria for their programs. The CDC guidance is intended to keep vaccines stored safely, so that they are not exposed to temperatures at which they could lose potency and become ineffective.

  • The vaccine manufacturers offer product-specific information, including:
    • ​At what temperature the vaccine should be stored.
    • How to store and use a diluent to reconstitute a vaccine (if needed).
    • When to discard a vaccine.
  • The CDC Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit offers recommendations that are good for all offices, but serve as minimum requirements for VFC providers. Main points include:
    • ​Using a temperature buffered probe rather than measuring ambient air temperatures.
    • ​Using a digital data logger with a detachable probe that continuously records and stores temperature information at frequent programmable intervals.
    • Using a stand-alone refrigerator and stand-alone freezer units suitable for vaccine storage rather than combination (refrigerator + freezer) or other units not designed for storing vaccines.
    • Discontinuing use of dorm-style or bar-style refrigerator/freezers for ANY vaccine storage, even temporary.
    • Weekly review of vaccine expiration dates and rotation of vaccine stock.
  • New for 2018, requirements from CDC include:
    • Use continuous temperature monitoring devices (data loggers) to monitor vaccines that will be administered to children in the VFC program. This applies to:
      • routine onsite storage of vaccine
      • transport of vaccine 
      • mass vaccination clinic
    • ​Maintain primary and back-up thermometers that meet the CDC data logger requirements, which include having:
      • a temperature probe — a buffered probe is recommended and represents the vaccine temperature better than measuring the air temperature
      • an active temperature display that can be easily read from the outside of the unit
      • the capacity for continuous temperature monitoring and recording where the data can be downloaded routinely​
    • ​Assess and record minimum and maximum temperatures at the start of each clinic day.
  • ​The AAP Immunization Training Guide also contains tips for storing and monitoring your vaccines, including:
    • ​Refrigerator temperature should measure between 2°C and 8°C.
    • ​​Freezer temperature should measure -15°C to -50°C
    • Vaccines meant to be stored in the refrigerator should never be frozen.
    • Temperatures of the refrigerator and freezer should be checked at least twice each day and documented on a temperature log. The maximum and minimum temperatures reached each day should also be recorded on this log.  ​


  • CDC eLearn: Immunization: You Call the Shots-Module Ten-Storage and Handling—2018
    This module is the tenth in a series titled Immunization: You Call the Shots and focuses on storage and handling requirements for vaccines. The series is designed to provide key immunization knowledge in a very basic step-by-step manner. It presents practice-oriented content about immunization. It does not discuss the denser more complex material regarding epidemiology, disease transmission, etc.

  • Keys to Storing and Handling Your Vaccine Supply
    Keys to Storing and Handling Your Vaccine Supply is presented as a web-on-demand video
    Description: This video is designed to decrease vaccine storage and handling errors by demonstrating recommended best practices and addressing frequently asked questions (FAQs) 



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