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  • Storage & Handling
  • Vaccine Viability and Expiration

What are the CDC guidelines regarding use of multiple dose vaccine vials?

With the exception of COVID-19 vaccines, vaccines in multidose vials (MDVs) that do not require reconstitution contain preservatives and can be used through the expiration date printed on the label as long as the vaccine is not contaminated, unless indicated otherwise by the manufacturer. For example, inactivated polio vaccine in an MDV can be used through the expiration date on the vial. For some vaccines, the manufacturer specifies that once the MDV has been entered or the rubber stopper punctured, the vaccine must be used within a certain number of days. This is commonly referred to as the “beyond-use date” (BUD). Any vaccine not used within the BUD should be discarded. Specific information regarding the BUD can be found in the product information. For example, the package insert for some inactivated influenza vaccine indicates once the stopper of the MDV has been pierced, the vial must be discarded within 28 days. Package inserts for vaccines can be found at

Be careful to follow current guidance from the manufacturer and CDC for how long an MDV of COVID-19 vaccine may be used after puncturing the vial. The COVID-19 vaccine MDVs do not contain preservatives and must be used within hours; specific times vary by product.

Last reviewed: July 26, 2023

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