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  • Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • Storage & Handling

How should varicella vaccine be stored in my clinic?

Live varicella-containing vaccines (varicella, MMRV) must be stored in a freezer at a temperature between -50°C and -15°C (between -58°F and +5°F) until reconstitution and administration. These vaccines can deteriorate rapidly after they are removed from the freezer. A separate stand-alone freezer or a combination refrigerator-freezer purpose-built for vaccine storage (sometimes called “pharmaceutical grade”) should be used to store frozen vaccines that require storage temperatures between -50°C and -15°C (between -58°F and +5°F). A stand-alone storage unit that is frost-free or has an automatic defrost cycle is preferred. Frozen vaccines should not be stored in the freezer compartment of a household-type combination unit because household freezers in combination units cannot reliably maintain proper storage temperatures for frozen vaccines. This applies to both temporary and long-term storage of frozen vaccines. The diluents should be kept separately in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Live varicella-containing vaccines must be administered within 30 minutes of reconstitution.

Last reviewed: May 16, 2023

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