• Vaccine Administration for COVID-19
    Field Operations Guide (FOG)


    Vaccine Storage and Handling

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  • Vaccine Storage and Handling
  • The proper storage and handling of vaccine are important to ensure potency of the vaccine. The reduced potency of vaccines results in inadequate immune response and poor protection against the disease. Therefore, it is important to maintain proper cold chain or a temperature-controlled environment to maintain vaccines in optimal condition.



    • Best Practice: Use a portable vaccine refrigerator or other purpose-built, vaccine transport containers for transport and off-site storage.
      • Purpose-built vaccine transport containers will maintain a consistent temperature range for up to 72 hours and provide thermal protection of vaccines during transport and storage throughout an offsite, drive-up, or drive-through clinic.


    Packing Materials

    If not using a purpose-built, vaccine transport container, you will need the following materials for vaccine packing:

    • Best Practice: Coolant materials such as phase change materials (PCMs).
      • PCMs are engineered packing supplies that help control container temperatures during vaccine transport or shipping.
      • PCMs maintain a proper temperature 39°F-41°F (4°C-5°C).
    • If PCMs are not available, use cold packs.
      • Condition cold packs by storing them at room temperature until they perspire (1-2 hours).
      • Insulating materials such as bubble wrap and corrugated cardboard, enough to form two layers per container.

    Temperature Monitoring

    • Digital Data Logger (DDL)
      • Accuracy of +/-1°F (+/-0.5°C) with a current and valid certificate of calibration testing
      • Buffered temperature probe
      • Digital display
      • VFC Hourly Vaccine Temperature Log

    Packing & Transport

    • If using purpose-built transport containers, prep the containers following manufacturer’s guidelines.
    • Refrigerated vaccines MUST be maintained at temperatures between 36°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C) during transport and off-site clinics.
    • Ensure that the probe is connected to the digital data logger and it is recording.
    • Place the DDL probe as close as possible to the vaccines, and check and record the temperatures hourly.
    • Pre-chill buffered probe for at least 5 hours in the refrigerator.
    • Keep the DDL display on the outside of the container so that you can easily see the temperatures.
    • Transport only the amount of vaccine needed for the clinic.
    • Check temperature hourly and document on temperature log.
    • Vaccines exposed to out-of-range temperatures (temperature excursion):
      • Best Practice: vaccine should not be used until viability is determined.
      • Label the container(s) “Do Not Use” and keep the containers closed.
      • Alert your supervisor immediately and report the out-of-range temperatures.
      • Document details of the temperature excursion on Hourly Temperature Log.
      • Contact the vaccine manufacturer(s) to determine if the vaccine is viable.
    • After the clinic, return the vaccines to their original storage units.

    Tips and Resources for Packing and Transporting Vaccines

    • Keep the container closed as much as possible.
    • Avoid leaving containers in areas where they are exposed to direct sunlight.
    • Vaccines that are distributed for immediate administration should be stored in a tray or a small cooler with a cold pack and used within 30 minutes of arrival to a vaccination station.
      • Place a paper towel over the cold pack to create a barrier.
      • Place the vaccine syringes on the paper towel, NOT directly on the cold pack.
    • Keep coolers closed as much as possible.
    • Remove only the amount needed at one time for preparation and administration.
    • For storage and handling trainings, check MyPLN or visit www.eziz.org
    • Refrigerated Vaccine Transport Log