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CDC Guidelines 2016

CDC Guidelines 2016

2016 CDC Vaccine Storage & Handling Toolkit – Top 10 Notables in the 2016 CDC Guidelines


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released the 2016 Vaccine Storage & Handling Toolkit, their first since May 2014. Here are the top 10 notables for Public Health Departments:

  1. Store refrigerated vaccine between 36° and 46°F. The previous recommendation was between 35° and 46°F. The Celsius temperature range (between 2° and 8°C) remains unchanged, as stated in all manufacturer package inserts for routinely recommended vaccines. (p.7)
  2. Use at least one digital data logger (DDL) with current and valid Certificate of Calibration Testing (also known as a Report of Calibration) for each unit and have on hand at least one backup in case of a broken or malfunctioning device is needed. (p.13)
  3. Use purpose-built refrigeration units designed to either refrigerate or freeze (can be compact, under-the-counter-style or large units). (p.14)
  4. Every vaccine storage unit must have a temperature monitoring device, and investing in reliable devices is less expensive than replacing vaccines wasted due to inaccurate temperature readings. (p.15)
  5. Your facility should have a DDL for each vaccine storage unit, each emergency transport unit, and at least one backup DDL in case a primary device malfunctions or is out for calibration testing. Make sure the backup device has a different calibration testing schedule than the primary device so it is available when the primary device is being tested. (p.16)
  6. At a minimum, every facility should have backup digital data loggers, vaccine transport containers, spare batteries, and flashlights. No piece of vaccine storage equipment is infallible. At some point, equipment will fail because of a power outage, breakdown, or normal wear and tear. (p.42)
  7. During a power outage, never open the storage unit door until power is restored or it is determined that vaccines need to be packed in separate storage containers and/or transported to an alternative storage facility. (p.44)
  8. Your facility should have a sufficient supply of materials needed for emergency vaccine transport of your largest annual inventory. (p.45)
  9. Phase change materials (PCMs) at 4°-5°C (39°-41°F) can also be purchased to maintain proper temperatures. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use to reduce the risk of freezing vaccines during transport. (p.46)
  10. Qualified container and pack-out definition: A type of container and supplies specifically designed for use when packing vaccines for transport. They are “qualified” through laboratory testing under controlled conditions to ensure they achieve and maintain desired temperatures for a set amount of time. (p.55)

The above notes are highlighted in this pdf. For specific, detailed storage and handling protocols for particular vaccines, the toolkit advises to always refer to the manufacture’s product information and package inserts, or to contact the manufacturer directly.

More information regarding the latest in CDC guidelines can be found on the CDC website ( or at the following links: