Vaccine strorage has never been a more important conversation across the globe. This informational guide provides an overview of storage temperature requirements for COVID vaccines currently approved for Emergency Use Authorization in the U.S. and general recommendations for proper vaccine storage.1
To ensure continued efficacy, vaccine storage conditions must follow strict and consistent temperature requirements. All vaccines must be stored and administered following the vaccine manufacturer's specifications. While these requirements are often similar for different brands of the same vaccine, this is not always the case.
Storage Requirements at a Glance
Please note that all requirements and dosing information shown are based upon information available at the time of publication and are therefore subject to change. Shelf-life information is based on unpunctured visits. Do NOT refreeze thawed vaccine, regardless of brand.
Protecting Vaccines Through Proper Product Selection
PHCbi brand cold chain storage solutions include 18 different models that are ENERGY STAR® Certified for performance and energy efficiency. These include both biomedical and ultra-low temperature freezers as well as high performance refrigerators. Our refrigerators use SNAP compliant refrigerants to help you meet sustainability goals and never sacrifice performance for the sake of energy efficiency. All products are engineered to maintain required temperatures for product viability and to achieve rapid temperature recovery after multiple door openings. Robust PHCbi brand refrigeration systems and purpose-built cabinet designs assure temperature uniformity, reliability and energy efficiency.
Note: All vial volumes listed are dependent upon storage trays.
Vaccine Storage FAQs
Q: Can Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen COVID-19 vaccines all be stored in the same model?
A: We understand that distributors don't always have a choice when it comes to COVID vaccine shipments. You might not even know what you’re going to get until it arrives. That's why we offer combination freezer/refrigerator units that can allow storage of vaccines across the temperature spectrums. Your PHCbi representative can assist you in making the appropriate selection for storage of COVID-19 and other vaccines.
Q: What should I look for when purchasing a vaccine storage unit?
A: Because of the tight storage temperature requirements for COVID and other vaccines, conventional refrigerators are not recommended. In fact, the CDC recommends freezers or refrigerators that are specifically designed for pharmaceutical and medical-grade storage. These purpose-built models have the superior ability to maintain precise, uniform temperatures throughout the cabinet. This is especially important for vaccines that must not be frozen.
Q: Can the vaccines be stored directly in the PHCbi brand units?
A: You can configure the unit racking to meet your needs for storage of the shipping boxes. Follow the vaccine manufacturers' directions for storage.
Q: Can the door be left open without affecting the vaccines?
A: A temporary temperature rise is normal, especially during a busy clinic day. Be sure to evaluate how quickly the refrigerator or freezer you are considering returns to the setpoint temperature. PHCbi brand models are designed to ensure quick temperature recovery following frequent door openings.
Q: Can dry ice be added to the unit?
A: It is not recommended to add dry ice directly to any PHCbi brand freezer or refrigerator. Dry ice might expose the vaccines to temperatures colder than -50°C. Janssen (J&J) and Moderna vaccines should not be stored using dry ice.11,12 You should make an emergency plan that follows CDC guidelines to prepare for emergency vaccine storage in response to natural disasters or power outages.
Q: At what temperatures can the models be set?
A: We offer a range of models with temperatures suitable for vaccines that require ultra-low temperature storage between -86°C and -40°C as well as models that accommodate vaccines requiring +2°C to +8°C storage temperatures. Additionally, only PHCbi brand products offer combination units with freezer chambers to store vaccines at -30°C to -20°C and +2°C to +14°C in the same footprint
Q: What type of power source do the models need?
A: PHCbi brand freezers and refrigerators use standard AC outlets. We have models available in 115V or 220V. Visit our website to view specifications or simply contact your local PHCbi brand representative for details.
PHC Corporation of North America
PHC Corporation of North America is a leader in laboratory equipment for the biopharmaceutical, life sciences, academic, healthcare and government markets. Product lines under the new PHCbi brand include the space saving and energy efficient VIP® ECO, TwinGuard® and VIP Series ultra-low temperature freezers, cryogenic and biomedical freezers, pharmacy and high performance refrigerators, cell culture CO2 and multigas incubators, programmable heated and refrigerated microbiological incubators and Drosophila/Plant Growth Chambers. PHC Corporation of North America is a subsidiary of PHC Holdings Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, which is a global healthcare company involved in the three core businesses of Medical Devices, Healthcare IT and Life Sciences. For more product information, please call PHC Corporation of North America at 800-858-8442.
2For up to 2 weeks
3Must be used within 5 days
4Must be used within 30 days
5Do not freeze