Meeting Standards and Requirements for the VFC, CDC and NSF456

What is Vaccine Storage Standard NSF 456?



Vaccine storage standard NSF 456 was developed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC and NSF International as a voluntary standard to provide vaccine and pharmaceutical handlers clear goals regarding proper storage temperatures of both frozen and refrigerated materials. While it is not subject to regulatory oversight from the CDC, it is becoming a critical standards in regards to no only to vaccines, pharmaceuticals, and other biomedical material but to manufacturers of appliances as well.

Vaccine storage standard NSF 456 clarifies the temperature requirements for maintaining optimal cold chain management and aims to reduce the number of dosages wasted in a time where every dose of a vaccine is a step toward a return to normal.

For healthcare providers, while they not obligated to replace their current equipment—be it refrigerators, freezers and combination units. Vaccine storage standard NSF 456 ensures that new equipment purchased and meeting the NSF 456 vaccine storage standard will provide the capabilities necessary to lower the long-run costs associated with needing replacement vaccine dosages.


During the testing process, the allowable temperature thresholds are as follows:


  • During a door opening test, no testing probe shall go below 2°C (35.6°F) or above 8°C (46.4°F)
  • After 3- minute opening test, temperature will recover to 5°C (41°F) +/- 3°C (37.4°F)


  • During door opening test, no testing probe shall go below -50°C (-58°F) or above -15°C (5°F)
  • After 3- minute opening test, temperature of probes will not rise above -15 ° C (5°F)

While battery backup power is also not a requirement, in a power outage situation battery backup can provide your appliances the power they need to maintain these temperatures and protect your valuable vaccines, pharmaceuticals and other biomedical stock. As such, we highly recommend that you provide backup power for these appliances, as the purchase price of a backup system is far lower than the replacement costs of your biomedical stock.


You can read more about the development and other specifics of Vaccine Storage Standard 456 here



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