What Happens if Vaccines Are Not Refrigerated?

What Happens if Vaccines Are Not Refrigerated?

Vaccines are commonplace in surgeries and hospitals. They save lives every year, and they are one of the greatest discoveries of the modern era. But vaccines need very specific storage conditions to be effective, which includes storing them within a very specific temperature range. This is also known as the cold-chain.

Here’s a look at why this is important, and what happens when vaccines are stored incorrectly.

What Happens to Vaccines That are Stored Incorrectly?

If vaccines are not stored correctly within their cold-chain temperature, range the potency of the vaccine can be effected. 

Once vaccines have lost their potency, this cannot be reversed and as a result, vaccines can become spoiled and ultimately unusable for patient administration.

If vaccine are used after they have fallen out of their effective temperature range, this can lead to a whole host of issues. There will be a risk that patients are not fully protected against the disease the vaccine protects, or, that they can experience negative side-effects from the spoiled vaccine. 

As you can see, vaccines are extremely temperature sensitive, especially live vaccines such as measles, which can be negatively affected when in contact with temperatures that are too high. 

Equally, vaccines that require a diluent (a liquid used is some vaccines) can also freeze if the temperature gets too cold which can destroy certain vaccines such as those for pneumococcal disease and tetanus. 

If vaccines continue to be stored in detrimental conditions, this can become a costly process due to the price of replacement

Vaccines must therefore be stored at the correct temperatures at all times, from their production right up to when they are administered.

What is the Correct Temperature Range for Vaccines?

Discussed above, vaccines must be stored within a very specific cold-chain temperature range, which is usually between +2°C and +8°C.

Anything temperature below +2°C and above +8°C will risk destroying the vaccines, and can render them ineffective. The result of this being that medical practices can find it difficult to administer the vaccines to patients when they are needed, due to a lack of stock. 

To avoid this from happening, GP surgeries and any healthcare practice should have a dedicated medical fridge to store their vaccines in.

Why is a Medical Fridge Essential for Vaccine Storage?

Unlike traditional household fridges that can fluctuate in temperature at any time, medical fridges are the only effective way to store vaccines due to their accurate temperature control. 

As long as vaccines are stored correctly inside, the internal temperature of the medical fridge is programmed to stay within the cold-chain temperature range. To further ensure that this temperature range remains constant, temperature probes are fitted inside medical fridge’s to monitor the temperature and constantly stabilise it. 

As well as their acute level of accuracy, medical fridges also have a number of other benefits. Most medical fridges have 24/7 temperature data logging, and some have alarms fitted that will alert users to any drops in temperature that could affect the vaccines, for example, if the door is left open by mistake. 

Medical fridges are also manufactured with locks. Where some vaccines are expensive or highly sought after, the risk of theft can increase and become a problem. Ensuring your medical fridge is installed with a door lock will provide you with a second line of defence against any intruders. 

Most medical fridges also come in a range of sizes, ranging from small, medium, and large. Whatever your stock levels might be, medical fridges are built to provide adequate space to store all of your products optimally so they are effective for use.


To ensure your vaccines are always stored safely, our fridges are covered by a 5 year parts and labour warranty. You can extend this by a further 2 years for just £99. We make it a priority is to promptly replace any faulty components within this period.

Get in Touch!

Vaccines provide protection from some of the world’s worst diseases, and they are absolutely essential for our health. However, they must be stored correctly if they are to be effective. 

If you are responsible for storing vaccines, always ensure you use a dedicated medical fridge to keep them at the correct temperature so they are 100% effective. 

If you’d like to speak to one of our CoolMed team to see what kind of medical fridge might best suit your needs, contact us here