A vaccine is only as good as the solution used to store it, as many require highly specific temperatures to remain effective. Any deviation from this can have a dramatic impact on a vaccine’s viability and, at worse, render it useless.  The WHO estimates that more than 50 percent of vaccines may be wasted globally every year due to temperature control, logistics and shipment-related issues. For our part, Thermo Fisher Scientific strives to provide hospitals, doctor’s offices and pharmacies with the tools they need to deliver every vaccine at full strength and efficacy – and that starts with the right cold storage.

You shouldn’t have to compromise when it comes to storing vaccines – which is why we provide high-performance purpose built refrigerators, freezers, and ultra low freezers that are designed to meet current and impending standards from the CDC, WHO, NSF and other global agencies for vaccine storage.

Watch our on-demand Vaccine Storage Webinar to learn more

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Vaccine storage guidelines and temperatures

The vaccine “cold chain” maintains product quality from the time of manufacture until the point of administration.   If the cold chain is not properly maintained, vaccine potency may be lost, resulting in a useless vaccine supply.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vaccine Storage Handling Tool Kit, updated annually, provides the following guidelines and recommendations for proper vaccine storage:

Storage guidelines
  • Use purpose-built or pharmaceutical-grade units designed to either refrigerate or freeze. These units can be compact, under-the-counter style or large.
  • Microprocessor-based temperature control with a digital temperature sensor (thermocouple, resistance temperature detector [RTD], or thermistor)
  • Fan-forced air circulation with powerful fans or multiple cool air vents promoting uniform temperature and fast temperature recovery from an out-of-range temperature.
  • Refrigerators should maintain temperatures between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F)*
  • Freezers should maintain temperatures between -50°C and -15°C (-58°F and +5°F)
*Probes that are permanently embedded in a buffer are acceptable as long as the temperature monitoring system for the entire unit can be calibration-tested.

Proper temperatures for vaccine storage 

(Refer to the CDC for the most current vaccine list.)

DT
DTaP
DTaP/HebB/IPV
DTap/IPV
DTap/IPV/Hib
DTaP/HibH1N1

HBIG
Hib
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A/B
Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B/HIB
HPV
Influenza
IPV

MR
MPSV4
MenACWY-D
MenACWY-CRM
MenB-4C
MenB-FHbp
MMR
MCV4PCVPPV
Pneumococcal
RotavirusTIV
TT
Td
Tdap
  • No exposure to freezing temperatures
  • Store at temperatures between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F)
  • Keep thermostat set at mid-range to achieve a temperature of about 5°C (40°F), which will decrease the likelihood of temperature excursions

Vaccines to store in a freezer:

HZV, MMRV, MMR, Varicella

  • Store in the freezer maintaining temperatures between –50°C and –15°C (–58°F and +5°F) 
  • Keep the thermostat at the factory-set or mid-point temperature setting to assure appropriate frozen storage temperature

Refrigerators
  • Capacities - 2, 5, 12, 23, 30, 50 cu.ft. sizes
  • Temperature control - microprocessor control for stability; no exposure to freezing temperatures
  • Fan-forced circulation - promotes uniformity and fast recovery
Freezers
  • Capacities - 1, 5, 12, 23, 50 cu.ft. sizes
  • Choice on design
    • Auto-defrost - utilizes lower set point to compensate for auto defrost cycle
    • Manual defrost models for tighter uniformity
  • Excellent uniformity to minimize temperature deviation in samples
ULTs
  • Capacities - 1 and 3 cu.ft. small capacity, 300 to 700 box upright models
  • Large capacity unit to support global vaccine production - TSX700 with 5 inner doors maximizes dosage storage
  • Reliability - 5 year warranty with direct service capabilities

Choose a vaccine refrigerator

 

TSG undercounter refrigerator

TSG countertop refrigerator

TSX undercounter
refrigerator

 
  Order now Order now Order now
Description
  • Holds up to 495 vaccine boxes
  • Features compressor-less cooling technology
  • Quiet at 43 dBA
  • Built-in temperature datalogging w/USB port
  • Innovative, compressor-less cooling system
  • Quiet operation at 42 dBA
  • Built-in datalogging
  • Holds up to 495 vaccine boxes
  • Compressor-free, redundant cooling system provides maximum protection
  • Extremely quiet at just 35 dBA
Max doses 100-399 0-200 100–399
Style Undercounter Countertop Undercounter
Exterior dimensions 
(DxWxH)
26 x 23.6 x 32
(66 x 60 x 81.3cm)
22.1 x 20.5 x 23
(56.1 x 52.1 x 58.4cm)
26 x 23.6 x 32 in.
(66 x 60 x 81.3cm)
Interior storage capacity 5.5 cu. ft. (156L) 1.8 cu. ft. (50.9L) 5.5 cu. ft. (156L)
Shelves/drawers 3 shelves 3 shelves 3 shelves
Door security Key lock
Key lock
Password protected
Setpoint interface LCD display with separate capacitive touch buttons LCD display with separate capacitive touch buttons Touchscreen
Weight 145 lbs (66kg) 83 lbs (38kg) 155 lbs (70kg)
  TSX pharmacy
refrigerator
TSX Sliding Door
refrigerator
  TSX pharmacy refrigerator
  Request quote Request quote
Description
  • ENERGY STAR® certified
  • Convenient sliding drawer baskets
  • Quiet operation
  • EPA SNAP and EU F-Gas Compliant Natural Refrigerants
  • Convenient sliding drawer baskets
  • Lockable sliding glass doors
Max doses 400–2,000 901–2,000
Style Upright single door or Upright double door Upright sliding 2-door
Exterior dimensions (DxWxH)

Single door
30.5 x 24.0 x 73.0
(77.5 x 61.9 x 185.4)
37 x 28 x 78.6 in.
(94 x 71.1 x 199.6cm)
37.3 x 34.0 x 78.5
(94.7 x 86.4 x 199.4)

Double door
37.8 x 56.5 x 78.5 in.
(96 x 143.5 x 199.4cm)

36.6 x 56.5 x 78.5 in.
(93.1 x 143.5 x 199.4cm) 
Interior storage capacity

Single door
11.5 cu. ft. (326L)
23 cu. ft. (650L)
29.2 cu. ft. (827L)

Double door
51.1 cu. ft. (1447L)

45.8 cu. ft. (1297L)
Shelves/drawers

Single door
5 Wire Baskets (11.5 cu. ft.)
6 wire basket drawers 

Double door
12 wire basket drawers 

8 wire shelves
Door security Key lock, E-Lock adapter options available Key lock, E-Lock adapter options available
Setpoint interface Microprocessor Microprocessor
Weight

Single door
388 lbs. (176kg)
490 lbs. (222kg)
541 lbs. (245kg)

Double door
830 lb (376kg)

611 lbs. (277kg)

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Choose a vaccine freezer

 

GPF countertop
–20°C freezer

Revco –30°C high performance freezer

TSX –30°C
auto-defrost freezer

  GPF vaccine freezer Revco vaccine freezer TSX vaccine freezer
  Order now Order now Request quote
Description
  • Convenient, countertop size
  • Quiet operation at less than 40 dBA
  • Reversible door
  • Temperature factory pre-set at –30°C
  • Icon based control and display
  • Key-operated microprocessor for setpoint security
  • Easy-to-use microprocessor control
  • Time and temperature-sensitive defrost
  • Compliant with U.S. EPA SNAP guidelines
Max doses 0–200 100–399 201–6,000
Style Undercounter Undercounter Upright single door
Exterior dimensions 
(DxWxH)
19.7 x 18.7 x 20.8 in
(50 x 47.5 x 52.8cm)
28.9 x 24 x 24 in
(73.4 x 61 x 61cm)
37.5 x 28 x 78.6 in
(95.3 x 711 x 199.6cm)
Interior storage capacity 1.13 cu. ft. (32L) 4.9 cu. ft. (139L) 23 cu. ft. (650L)
Shelves/drawers 1 shelf 3 shelves 4 shelves
Door security Key lock Key lock Key lock
Setpoint interface Digital Microprocessor Microprocessor
Weight 44 lbs (20kg) 212 lbs (96kg) 388 lbs (176kg)

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Choose a ULT freezer

 

Performance ultra-low freezers

Standard performance (STP) ultra-low freezers

Premium (TSX) ultra-low freezers

  ”standard ULT freezer ”advanced ULT freezer ”premium ULT freezer
  Dependable sample storage is our standard. Choose an ultra-low temperature freezer designed specifically for reliability. Exceptional performance for everyday assurance. Protect your precious samples and reduce your energy costs with an ultra-low temperature freezer that's built to last. Peace of mind protection for precious samples. Because your focus should be your discoveries. Our focus is keeping them safe. Our TSX ultra-low temperature freezers provide prime protection, even in the most taxing conditions.
Daily energy consumption  as low as 12.0 kWh/day as low as 10.5 kWh/day as low as 7.9 kWh/day
Door opening recovery as low as 19 min as low as 11 min as low as 17 min
Heat rejection (HVAC load) Medium Low Lowest
Sound Normal Quiet Most quiet
Cooling technology 2-stage cascade compressor

2-stage single speed compressors
Powered by H-Drive

2-stage variable speed compressors 
Powered by V-Drive
System refrigerants HFC1 Natural HC2 Natural HC2
Upright freezer storage capacity 280-360 boxes3 300–600 boxes3 400–700 boxes3
User interface Microprocessor control HIC: Touch button controller VIC: Touchscreen
Certifications UL, cUL, CE, RoHS, xFDA4 UL, cUL, CE, RoHS, FDA Class II, ENERGY STAR®5 UL, cUL, CE, RoHS, ENERGY STAR®
Outer doors Double Single Single
U.S. EPA SNAP compliant  


EU F-Gas compliant
Chest freezers    
Soft grip handle    
Thin wall high density storage  
On-board event/temp. recording  

(service only)

Remote monitoring compatible
Access/user setting controls
USB port for data download  

(service only)

Setpoint security
Access key/card control options    
  Explore Performance ULTs Explore STP ULTs Explore TSX ULTs

Wireless monitoring and data logging for vaccine storage

The CDC also recommends the use of a continuous monitoring and recording digital data logger (DDL) to provide the most accurate storage unit temperature information. An accurate temperature history and continuous monitoring of temperatures is critical to protecting your vaccines, and every vaccine storage unit should have its own temperature monitoring device. A dependable data logger is less expensive than replacing wasted vaccines.**

Smart Vue Pro
Smart-vue wireless monitoring system
Smart-tracker wireless datalogger

A Smart solution provides a new Vue in Protection
Designed with simplicity, compliance and optimization in mind, Smart-Vue Pro is a next-generation solution for sample storage and processing.
The ability to select the configuration of probe, module, and network type allows you to build the system you need. The modular, customizable architecture allows for easy expansion without costly upgrades. Smart-Vue Pro is compatible with multiple brands and types of equipment. New equipment and labs can be added to existing Smart-Vue Pro systems. With the longer range LoRa, scalability is possible across multiple labs, floors, or buildings with fewer receivers.

Effectively and efficiently measure and log performance data in multiple refrigerators and freezers, simultaneously. A Smart-Vue wireless monitoring system also notifies users remotely in the event of a power or mechanical failure which could threaten vaccine storage protection.

Thermo Scientific™ InSight is a wireless monitoring solution that has been designed to proactively monitor your cold storage equipment. InSight consists of wireless modules (motes), sensors and software tools that allow you to monitor your cold storage equipment’s temperature, energy consumption, door access, reliability, predictive failure analytics, as well as other parameters using Wi-Fi or proprietary wireless protocols.


Data loggers for temperature monitoring

Smart-Tracker wireless datalogger

Bring temperature tracking right to your smartphone to ensure the cold chain has been preserved during transport or storage. View complete temperature readings and history with the Smart-Tracker mobile app.

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Frequently Asked Vaccine Storage Questions and Myths

Unfortunately, many misconceptions about vaccine storage still exist. These “myths” could have detrimental effects on patients’ health, especially in the midst of a pandemic when immune systems must be as strong as possible. That’s why we’ve set out to debunk some of the most common ones. Here are the top five:

Despite what some people think, not all refrigerators are created equal. Many healthcare institutions still rely on residential-style, or white-box, refrigeration units to keep their sensitive biomedical samples safe. These units simply were not designed to maintain the rigid temperature control necessary for vaccines and other medical samples.  If you’ve ever pulled a frozen beverage from the back of your refrigerator, you’ve experienced the problem. Many facilities using these types of units struggle with cabinet temperature uniformity, which can result in some vaccines growing warmer or colder than others. Temperature stability can also become an issue, as these units were not designed for immediate temperature recovery after every door opening. By the end of a busy lab day, the internal temperature of a white box unit could be dangerously high from room-temperature air entering the cabinet, putting vaccines at risk.

It’s for these reasons that many residential and commercial-grade refrigerators state clearly that they are not intended for lab use. Just as a residential coffee maker could void office insurance policies in the event of a fire, the use of a white box unit in the lab could become a liability for lab facilities. Purpose-built cold storage units, such as the Thermo Scientific™ TSX series of lab refrigerators, are designed to help protect precious and highly sensitive biological materials such as vaccines. Unlike the standard compressor that powers a residential unit, the TSX series uses variable speed, or V-drive, technology engineered to provide temperature uniformity throughout the cabinet, while continuously adapting to user patterns and door openings to keep temperatures within a vaccine-safe range at all times. This reliability was key to Thermo Scientific cold storage products receiving Underwriter Laboratories (UL) certification for use in the lab. Since 2010, Thermo Fisher has partnered with UL Environment®, a third-party certification source that provides clarity for the validation of claims and certification of industry standards, to ensure our customers are as protected as possible should an issue arise. UL listings demonstrate that products are fit for lab use, providing another layer of protection and validation should insurance coverage come into question.

We’re proud to say that this is true for Thermo Scientific lab-grade refrigerators. We’ve invested heavily in technology specifically designed to deliver precision temperature control and consistency across the cabinet, so vaccines can be stored safely anywhere within our units. However, this is not the case for residential units. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has had to issue specialized guidelines to combat the unstable temperatures characteristic of white-box units. These include storing vaccines away from a refrigerator’s walls or door where temperature fluctuations are most extreme and using water bottles around the perimeter to stabilize the unit’s temperature. If these rules are not followed, vaccines could be subjected to temperatures outside of their mandated range, calling their integrity into question. 

To maintain a highly specific level of cooling, lab refrigerators must be kept running 24/7. The unfavorable side effect of this necessity is that it generates distracting noise and uncomfortable heat. These circumstances have driven lab refrigerators out of the main workspace or forced facilities to turn toward a residential unit, which does not suffer the same inconveniences. However, it’s worth asking: at what cost? Residential units don’t output the same noise or heat levels because they don’t operate with the same precision or reliability. This used to leave many lab professionals at an impasse, but fortunately that’s no longer the case.

Lab-grade refrigerators such as the TSX series have witnessed a dramatic improvement in compressor technology in recent years. These advances have enabled the production of more efficient units that output less heat and also facilitate whisper-quiet operation. With a sound level of 52 A-weighted decibels (dBA), our customers can work alongside a TSX series lab refrigerator without distraction. This has made it possible to return lab-grade refrigerators to the main workspace, so end users can easily access samples without sacrificing on protection.

While the upfront costs of a white-box unit may be cheaper than a purpose-built refrigerator, it’s important to fully consider the risks and long-term costs of the decision. The questionable reliability of a white-box unit could put thousands of dollars – if not more – of samples at risk. It could also leave remote communities at risk of a vaccine shortage. An outage of just one unit filled with vaccines could pay for a purpose-built unit ten times over. Moreover, because of the strict rules around where vaccines can be stored within a residential unit, the cabinet space cannot be fully utilized. This often forces facilities to purchase several residential units when the same volume of product could have been easily stored inside one purpose-built unit.

This is arguably the most dangerous myth of all. Temperature control is essential to a sample’s integrity and, as such, samples are only as reliable as the units in which they are stored. Many vaccines are only effective if they remain within the extremely limited temperature range of 2°C to 8°C. Outside of this range, there is no way to guarantee the vaccine will be effective. Unlike a residential-grade unit, purpose-built refrigerators deliver the reliability and performance necessary for highly sensitive and complex medical materials, like vaccines – because they were designed for it. Medical workers can operate with confidence, knowing their products are protected.

  Standard Plug Type Voltage Hz
NEMA 5-15 115–120 60
NEMA 5-20 115–120 60
NEMA 6-15 208–230 60
Continental EU
230 50

Alternative plugs and cords are available to meet your special needs. Learn more ›

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