With the new guidelines that Pfizer COVID vaccines allowing storage in a vaccine refrigerator for up to 30 days, some folks might be a little confused about this vaccines storage and handling guidelines.
After all, this is the vaccine that initially shipped with dry ice and required ultra cold temperatures!
The New Pfizer COVID Vaccine Storage Guidelines
And that’s part of what’s confusing about the Pfizer COVID vaccine storage guidelines…
These vaccines still require ultra cold temperatures – at least for long term storage. You can only keep them in a regular freezer or refrigerator for short periods of time.
Fortunately, most health care providers don’t need to keep their doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine around very long. They are hopefully giving them out and getting folks vaccinated and protected as quickly as they can, ordering more vaccine as necessary.
So how can you store your Pfizer COVID vaccine?
You can safely store them in:
- the Pfizer COVID vaccine thermal container (holds 5 trays of 195 vials = 1,170 doses) with dry ice for up to 30 days, refilling the dry ice every five days
- an ultra-low temperature freezer between -80ºC to -60ºC (-112ºF to -76ºF) until the vaccine’s expiration date
- a vaccine freezer, frozen at temperatures of -25°C to -15°C (-13°F to 5°F) for up to 2 weeks, after which you can transfer it to a refrigerator
- a vaccine refrigerator, thawed and undiluted in the refrigerator [2ºC to 8ºC (35ºF to 46ºF)] for up to 1 month, understanding that you can not refreeze thawed vaccine
- at room temperature (undiluted vials) for no more than two hours
- between 2°C to 25°C (35°F to 77°F) after dilution, using all of the vaccine in the vials (6 doses) within six hours from the time of dilution
And after six hours from the time you mixed the Pfizer COVID vaccine with it’s diluent, you then have to discard any unused vaccine.
More on Vaccine Storage and Handling
- Remote Vaccine Temperature Monitoring Devices
- Maintaining the Cold Chain for COVID-19 Vaccines
- COVID-19 Vaccine Challenges
- Handling Vaccine Storage Problems
- What’s Your Plan for Storing Vaccines During an Emergency?
- Buying a Vaccine Refrigerator
- Transporting Vaccines Safely
- COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Monitoring Systems
- Which Vaccines Need to be Frozen?
- Which Vaccines Need to be Refrigerated?
- FDA – FDA In Brief: FDA Authorizes Longer Time for Refrigerator Storage of Thawed Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Prior to Dilution, Making Vaccine More Widely Available
- CDC – Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Storage and Handling Summary
- CDC – Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit
- CDC – Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine: What Healthcare Professionals Need to Know
- COVID-19 Vaccine Temperature Excursion Guidance
- IAC – Ask the Experts about Vaccine Storage and Handling
- CDC – Dry Ice Safety for Healthcare Professionals