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  • Storage & Handling
  • Vaccine Storage Units

Our office is small and we only store vaccine in the refrigerator of a combination refrigerator/freezer. Can we use the freezer portion to store staff food?

CDC recommends using separate refrigerator and freezer units for vaccine storage, but still allows use of a combination refrigerator/freezer if you only use the refrigerator portion for storing vaccines (as you are doing). CDC also recommends that you store food and beverages in a separate storage unit from vaccines, which you are technically doing, but there may still be an impact on the refrigerator temperature by the opening and closing of the freezer door by staff. (In most two-compartment units, cold air from the freezer is circulated for cooling the refrigerator.)

The best situation would be to get a stand-alone pharmaceutical/purpose-built refrigerator unit for your vaccines (consider one that meets the voluntary NSF/ANSI 456 certification for vaccine storage), and use your refrigerator/freezer combination unit for your food and drinks. For more information about storage unit features and recommendations, refer to pages 9 and 31 of the CDC Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit available at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/admin/storage/toolkit/storage-handling-toolkit.pdf.

Last reviewed: July 26, 2023

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