Three Reasons Why Some Vaccines Need To Be Kept Refrigerated In Your Clinic

Some vaccines (not all) need to be kept refrigerated. Every vaccine for every disease is different, so you have to follow the guidelines of the manufacturer and the instructions for storage on the box or label. Regardless of which vaccines you have in your clinic at any one time, it is important that you have a 24 inch refrigerator for vaccines on hand. That way, any vaccines that do need to be chilled are stored in the right place. The following information reveals why some vaccines need to be kept refrigerated when others do not. 


Temperature guidelines for vaccines are not a suggestion. They are a requirement to maintain the potency of the vaccine. If the vaccine is not kept within the correct temperature range, it loses its potency, and therefore its efficacy at preventing the disease it was meant to prevent. Some vaccines need to be kept at around fifty degrees, which disallows them to be kept at room temperature. Vaccines made from live bacteria have to be kept much cooler to control the bacteria within the vaccine. (Polio vaccine was originally one of these live bacteria vaccines that had to be kept refrigerated.) Still other vaccines are stored at room temperature. Regardless of required temperature, all vaccines have a shelf life and an expiration date. 

Expiration Date

Every vial of vaccine has an expiration date. Of course, the expiration date is only valid if the vaccine was stored at the correct temperature the entire time the vaccine was in your clinic. Nurses have to take doses of a vaccine in syringes and then place cooled or refrigerated vaccine vials back into the refrigerator right away to preserve the expiration date. If left out for too long, the vial has to be tossed because the vaccine will no longer be effective enough, and the expiration date would be moved up several days or weeks depending on the date stamped on the vial. For vaccines stored at room temperature, this is not a problem. 

Problems with Maintaining Ambient Temperatures in the Clinic

If your clinic suddenly loses the ability to cool during hot months, you could lose thousands of dollars in vaccines. Even the vaccines stored at room temperature could become useless. However, if you have a small clinic refrigerator for the purpose of storing vaccines, then the air conditioning problem is not really a problem for the vaccines. You can store them in the refrigerator until the air conditioning is repaired and the temperature in the clinic is more conducive to those vaccines that do not need to be cooled and still keep the cooled vaccines where they should be.