Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit (Part 3)

Staff and Training

Vaccine storage and handling practices are only as effective as the staff that implements them. Staff that is well trained in general storage and handling principles and organization-specific storage and handling standard operating procedures (SOPs) is critical to ensuring vaccine supply potency and patient safety.

Staff Training

All staff members who receive vaccine deliveries as well as those who handle or administer vaccines should be trained in vaccine-related practices and be familiar with your facility’s storage and handling SOPs. If you are a VFC provider or have vaccines purchased with public funds, contact your immunization program* for specific state requirements related to training, policies, and procedures.

Online Training Resources

CDC’s You Call the Shots: Vaccine Storage and Handling is a free, online training module focused on storage and handling requirements. Check with your immunization program and professional organizations to see what vaccine storage and handling training resources they offer.

Storage and Handling SOPs

SOPs will help your facility stay organized, serve as a reference and training tool, and ensure proper vaccine management. SOPs help ensure proper procedures are followed and problems are identified, reported, and corrected. SOPs should also provide guidance for emergencies such as equipment malfunctions, power failures, or natural disasters.

Storage and handling plans and SOPs should contain plans and information for three major areas (see the Vaccine Storage and Handling SOP Worksheet):

  • General information—include contact information for vaccine manufacturers, equipment service providers, and important facility staff, as well as job descriptions, regularly used forms, and staff training requirements
  • Routine storage and handling SOPs—include information for all aspects of vaccine inventory management, from ordering to monitoring storage conditions
  • Emergency vaccine storage, handling, and transport SOPs—outline steps to be taken in the event of equipment malfunctions, power failures, natural disasters, or other emergencies that might compromise vaccine storage conditions

Keep SOPs near vaccine storage units and make sure staff knows where to find them. Document all training completed with dates and participant names.

  • As part of new employee orientation 
  • Annually as a refresher for all staff involved in immunization and vaccine storage and handling activities
  • Whenever new vaccines are added to inventory
  • Whenever recommendations for storage and handling of vaccines are updated



* Immunization programs:

*You Call the Shots: Vaccine Storage and Handling:

Vaccine Coordinator Recommendations

This person will be responsible for ensuring all vaccines are stored and handled correctly and should be an expert on your facility’s storage and handling SOPs.

Coordinator responsibilities should include:

  • Ordering vaccines 
  • Overseeing proper receipt and storage of vaccine deliveries 
  • Documenting vaccine inventory information 
  • Organizing vaccines within storage units 
  • Setting up temperature monitoring devices 
  • Checking and recording minimum/maximum temperatures at start of each workday
  • Reviewing and analyzing temperature data at least weekly for any shifts in temperature trends 
  • Rotating stock at least weekly so vaccines with the earliest expiration dates are used first 
  • Removing expired vaccine from storage units 
  • Responding to temperature excursions (out-of-range temperatures) 
  • Maintaining all documentation, such as inventory and temperature logs 
  • Organizing vaccine-related training and ensuring staff completion of training 
  • Monitoring operation of vaccine storage equipment and systems 
  • Overseeing proper vaccine transport (when necessary) per SOPs 
  • Overseeing emergency preparations per SOPs:
    1. Tracking inclement weather conditions
    2. Ensuring appropriate handling of vaccines during a disaster or power outage


Coordinator responsibilities may be completed by the coordinator or delegated to appropriate staff. Ensure the coordinator has trained the delegate(s) and documented competency for the specific task(s) assigned.

Staf Training and SOP Best Practices

1. Review and update SOPs annually.
2. Appoint an alternate vaccine coordinator to act in the absence of the primary coordinator.
3. The alternate coordinator, like the primary coordinator, should be an expert in routine and emergency SOPs.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a wide range of information on disaster preparedness: The Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers information concerning the storage and use of temperature-sensitive biological products that have been involved in a temporary electrical power failure or flood conditions:


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides up-to-date information on U.S. weather conditions:

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