Published on in Vaccine Update for Healthcare Providers
CDC’s Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit has just been updated for 2020. This 48-page guide reflects the best practices for vaccine storage and handling compiled from ACIP recommendations, product information from vaccine manufacturers, and scientific studies.
Changes in the 2020 Toolkit provide clarifying language and new definitions only, i.e., no new recommendations have been implemented. Updated language may be found on the following topic areas:
- Frequency of checking temperatures in vaccine storage units — Language has been added to clarify a recommendation first included in the 2018 Toolkit, when CDC recommended that storage units being monitored by a temperature monitoring device (TMD) that records min/max* temperatures needed to have the temperature checked only once each day. The 2020 update clarifies that TMDs that do not read min/max temperatures should be checked twice a day, at the start and end of the workday.
*A “min/max” TMD provides readings for the coolest (minimum) and warmest (maximum) temperature readings in a storage unit over a set period of time. After the readings are reviewed, the TMD is reset and the process is repeated until the next reading.
- Defrosting manual-defrost freezers — The Toolkit provides guidance that defrosting of manual-defrost freezers should take place “when the frost exceeds either 1 cm or the manufacturer’s suggested limit.”
- Adjustment of storage unit temperatures — CDC inserted language noting that storage unit temperatures should be stabilized “between 2oC and 8oC (36oF and 46oF) for a refrigerator. …” Previous language also provided a suggested midpoint target of “around 5oC (40oF).” IAC has confirmed with CDC that, although the vaccine may be correctly stored anywhere within the stated temperature range, it is still appropriate to aim for the midpoint, i.e., “aim for 5oC.” Therefore, this wording will be retained on IAC’s temperature monitoring logs.
- Beyond use date — The 2020 Toolkit clarifies that if a vaccine has no Beyond Use Date (BUD), the expiration date provided by the manufacturer should be used.
- New/updated definitions — A new definition is now included for “portable vaccine storage unit,” and the definition for “qualified container and packout” has been clarified.
- Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit web section
- You Call the Shots: Storage and Handling online training module
- Vaccine Storage and Handling: Recommendations and Guidelines web section
- Keys to Storing and Handling Your Vaccine Supply on-demand online video
- Handling a Temperature Excursion in Your Vaccine Storage Unit print resource
- Vaccine Storage and Handling chapter from Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (“The Pink Book”)
Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Vaccine Education Center staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.
You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family's personal health. You should not use it to replace any relationship with a physician or other qualified healthcare professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult your physician or, in serious cases, seek immediate assistance from emergency personnel.