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Vaccine Storage and Handling

Vaccine quality is the shared responsibility of all handlers of vaccines from the time a vaccine is manufactured until it is administered to a patient. Vaccines, like all temperature sensitive medical products, need to be kept at the appropriate temperature range in order to protect our Service members and beneficiaries. According to the CDC, "improper storage is the most common vaccine delivery problem they encounter." Emphasis on the importance of good policies and procedures, frequent and on-going training of staff, proper equipment and maintenance will help all staff provide high quality vaccines and reduce waste caused by improper storage.

Even with proper education and training, vaccine losses continue to occur throughout the Department of Defense (DoD) due to improper storage and handling. Failure to adhere to recommended specifications for storage and handling of immunizations can reduce their potency, resulting in an inadequate immune response and protection of our patients. By understanding and implementing proper storage and handling practices, staff in clinics, patient centered medical homes, and other healthcare locations where immunizations are administered can ensure their critical role in improving and maintaining the health of uniformed Service members and other beneficiaries.

Vaccine Storage and Handling Guidelines are IAW the DoD Joint Immunization Regulation/Instruction (Immunization and Chemoprophylaxis for the Prevention of Infectious Diseases- AR 40-562/BUMEDINST 6230.15B/AFI 48-110_IP/CG COMDTINST M6230.4G) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) General Recommendations on Immunization.

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