Vaccine Storage Guide

Outdated or improperly stored vaccines won't protect patients!

Updated 5/12 image of front page of Vaccine Storage Guide
Vaccine Storage Guide: Two-page illustrated guide to vaccine storage temperatures and where and how to store vaccine in a refrigerator-only unit, freezer-only unit, and combination refrigerator/freezer unit. Includes tips for proper storage and management of vaccines.

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Follow these guidelines for proper vaccine management:

  • Designate one fully trained staff member to be the primary vaccine coordinator and at least one person to be backup. Ensure ongoing training.

Manage vaccine inventory

  • Review your vaccine inventory on a monthly basis and with each vaccine order to avoid over-ordering.
  • Check vaccine expiration dates.
  • Rotate your vaccine supply by placing vaccines with the earliest expiration dates in front of other vaccines and always use them first.
  • Identify vaccine that will expire and determine if it should be transferred.
  • Call the MnVFC program (651-201-5522 or 800-657-3970) if you have any MnVFC vaccine that will expire within 3 months that you cannot use.
  • If you have stock of both private and MnVFC vaccine, mark them clearly.

Store vaccine correctly

  • Place a thermometer in the center of the refrigerator or freezer near the vaccines.
  • Use open trays, wire baskets, or other uncovered containers to help organize vaccines.
  • Clearly label each container with the vaccine type. Avoid storing look-alike, sound-alike vaccine next to each other (e.g., Td and DT, HepA and HepB).
  • Keep vaccines in their original packaging.
  • Store vaccines on the middle shelves and 2 to 3 inches from the walls of the refrigerator/freezer, not in the door or bins.
  • Keep water bottles, jugs, or cold packs in the refrigerator and frozen packs or other ice-filled containers in the freezer. Mark water bottles “DO NOT DRINK.”
  • Make sure you have enough space to store vaccine for the back-to- school rush and flu season.

Monitor temperatures

  • Use thermometers that come with a certificate stating they have been calibrated according to national standards. Without this certificate thermometers are not acceptable, because their accuracy cannot be guaranteed.
  • Check and record refrigerator and freezer temperatures twice a day, first thing in the morning and last thing at the close of business.
  • Record temperature readings on a temperature log and post it in a visible location on or near the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Be sure to keep temperature logs for 3 years.
  • Make sure the door is shut.
  • Take immediate action on all out-of-range temperatures!

Take action on out-of-range temperatures

  • Determine the cause.
  • Adjust the thermostat, if necessary.
  • Monitor the temperature. If the temperature doesn’t stabilize in the correct range within two hours:
    • Contact the vaccine coordinator.
    • Stop using the vaccine.
    • Mark the vaccine “DO NOT USE."
    • Move the vaccine to a refrigerator/freezer that’s maintaining the correct temperature.
    • Call for guidance right away. For MnVFC vaccine call 651-201-5522 or 800-657-3970. For private purchase vaccine, check your purchase agreement for guidance.
    • Document your actions.

Updated Monday, August 06, 2012 at 08:42AM