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  • Administering Vaccines
  • General Issues

My nurse removed the protective cap from a preservative-free single dose vial, but the vial was not used. How long can we keep a vial of vaccine after we remove the protective cap of a preservative-free vial of vaccine?

Removing the protective cap increases the likelihood the septum or stopper could be punctured. The puncture may not be visible. It is important to ensure that the rubber seal on single-dose vials is not punctured because single-dose vials do not contain a preservative. Once the protective cap has been removed, the vaccine should be discarded at the end of the workday because it may not be possible to determine if the rubber seal has been punctured. For additional details, see CDC’s Vaccine Storage & Handling Toolkit at

Last reviewed: December 28, 2022

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