Vaccine Storage: How to Position and Stock Your Vaccine Fridge

The proper storage of vaccines is a critical aspect of healthcare, influencing the effectiveness and safety of immunisation programs. An integral part of this process is vaccine fridges. These tools are indispensable during vaccine storage, designed to maintain the optimal temperature conditions needed for proper vaccine storage. 

As well as using the right tools for vaccine storage, it is essential to stock and position vaccines correctly. In this guide, we will explore the key strategies for optimising your vaccine storage, from ideal positioning to correct stocking practices.

Why are vaccine fridges needed in healthcare settings? 

Vaccine fridges play a pivotal role in safeguarding the potency of vaccines. These specialised refrigeration units are engineered to maintain a consistent temperature, ensuring that vaccines remain viable and effective until administered. Proper storage is not only crucial for vaccine efficacy but also imperative for meeting regulatory standards and ensuring patient safety.

How to choose the right vaccine fridge for your needs

When selecting a vaccine fridge, factors such as size, temperature control features, and data logging capabilities should be considered. Small vaccine fridges are ideal for clinics with limited space, while large medical fridges are better used in bigger settings, such as laboratories

CoolMed vaccine refrigerators have varying storage capacities, coming in small, medium and large sizes. Further, all of our refrigerators are fitted with iCool temperature probes. This enables you to consistently monitor your vaccines to ensure they remain within the cold-chain temperature range. This also enables healthcare professionals to be alerted to any temperature deviations outside of this range, so issues can be rectified promptly. 

How to store vaccines correctly 

Temperature management

Maintaining the correct temperature is paramount for vaccine storage. As a standard practice, vaccine fridge temperature settings should be regularly monitored and adjusted accordingly to ensure they continuously align with the recommended storage guidelines. A temperature range between +2°C to +8°C is standard for most vaccines, but consulting specific guidelines provided by vaccine manufacturers is always recommended.

Strategic positioning of your vaccine fridge

The placement of your vaccine fridge within your facility can also impact its overall performance. Positioning your fridge away from heat sources such as windows and direct sunlight, and avoiding placing it near equipment that generates heat can reduce the risk of stock becoming spoiled. 

Additionally, adequate ventilation around the fridge is crucial for optimal functioning, ensuring that it can consistently maintain the desired temperature.

Stocking protocols for vaccine fridges

The arrangement of vaccines within a medical fridge is just as crucial as the positioning of the fridge itself. Following best practices for correctly stocking a vaccine fridge can be the difference between vaccines being safe for administration or losing their efficacy and disposed of. As a general rule, you should refer to the following guidelines when stocking a medical fridge: 

  • Group vaccines with similar storage requirements together to make stocking procedures easier.
  • Vaccines with the shortest expiration dates should be placed in easily accessible areas. This ensures they are used first, and those with later expiry dates are used last. 
  • Try to avoid overstocking your vaccine fridge and do not block any ventilation grilles. This will help to ensure proper air circulation within the fridge’s chamber and allow all products to stay within a cold-chain temperature range. 
  • Regularly check and organise vaccine inventory to dispose of any expired vaccines which could be harmful to administer to patients, and move any medications close to expiration to the front of the chamber. 

The importance of proper vaccine storage

Optimising your vaccine fridge involves a combination of selecting the right equipment, managing temperature settings diligently, strategic positioning, and adopting proper stocking protocols. 

By implementing these best practices, healthcare providers can maintain the integrity of vaccines, contributing to the success of immunisation programs. If you’re looking for the right vaccine fridges for your healthcare setting, we’d love to chat with you! Call us on 0161 772 5666, or email us at