| July 3, 2024 | Medi-Products

Can Flu Vaccine be Left Unrefrigerated?

How long is a vaccine allowed to be outside the refrigerator?

How long a vaccine is allowed to be outside the refrigerator varies on the room temperature, surface area and volume of the liquid inside the bottle, and the refrigerated temperature it had been stored in. A vial that is stored at 38°F can rise 2 – 3°F per minute in a 68°F room and be out of temperature range in under 5 minutes.


Each vaccine has a different storage temperature and therefore has different amounts of time it can be left out. For example, to find out how to properly store the a flu vaccine click here. Or for other storage temperature ranges click here.


The following are suggested guidelines set out by the CDC and the Immunization Action Coalition:

  1. Firstly you must find out how long the vaccine has been left outside the vaccine fridge, or outside of the normal vaccine storage temperatures. You may have to ask your staff or co-workers and record the amount time it was left outside the vaccine fridge.

  2. Put a marking on the vaccine vials and put them back in the vaccine refrigerator as soon as possible.

  3. Next you will want to contact your supplier and or local state health department.  They will help determine or give some advice if the vaccine could still be used.

  4. If you are told not to use the vaccine, make another mark on them with “no good” or “do not use” using a magic marker, on the glass or product label, and take them out of the refrigerator or freezer.

  5. Ask your state or local health department and/or your supplier where you should send the vaccines for disposal

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