Vaccine Storage Guide
Outdated or improperly stored vaccines won't protect patients!Updated 10/14
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 for all immunization staff.
Manage vaccine inventory
- Review your vaccine inventory on a monthly basis and with each vaccine order to avoid over-ordering.
- Check vaccine expiration dates. Identify vaccine that will expire and determine if it should be transferred.
- Rotate your vaccine supply by placing vaccines with the earliest expiration dates in front of other vaccines and always use them first.
- Call the MnVFC program if you have MnVFC vaccine that will expire within three months that you cannot use.
- If you have stock of both private and MnVFC vaccine, mark them clearly.
- Make sure you have enough space to store vaccine for the back-to-school rush and flu season.
Store vaccine correctly
- Place the thermometer's temperature probe in the center of the refrigerator or freezer with 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., Tdap and DTaP, HepA and HepB).
- Keep vaccines in their original packaging.
- Store vaccines on the middle shelves and two to three inches from the walls of the combination 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.”
- Be sure to routinely check that the door of each unit is shut.
- Use thermometers that come with a certificate stating they have been calibrated according to national standards. Thermometers without this certificate are not acceptable.
- 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.
- Make sure to record the date, time, and name or initials of the individual checking the temperatures.
- Record the minimum and maximum temperatures each morning and reset, if needed, after recording them.
- Take immediate action on all out-of-range temperatures!
- Be sure to keep temperature logs for three years.
Take action on out-of-range temperatures
- Determine the cause, if possible.
- Adjust the thermostat, if necessary.
- Monitor the temperature.
If the temperature doesn’t stabilize in the correct range within 30 minutes:
- Stop using the vaccine.
- Mark the vaccine “DO NOT USE."
- Move the vaccine to a refrigerator or freezer that's maintaining the correct temperature.
- For MnVFC vaccine, call the MnVFC program at 651-201-5522 to report out-of-range temperature incidents.
- Call the vaccine manufacturer and ask to speak to a medical consultant or quality assurance staff.
- Be ready to share the lot numbers, expiration dates, temperature logs, and the time the unit may have been out-of-range.
- Document your actions.