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Minimize Vaccine Waste by Adhering to the New NSF Vaccine Standard

By Binta Paye | September 15, 2021

With COVID-19 cases rising and vaccine rollout strategies growing across the country, it's critical for medical facilities to remain up to date with the latest vaccine storage requirements that will help to reduce vaccine waste. From the moment a vaccine is produced to the moment it is administered, it's important to keep the cold chain consistent within each vaccine's designated temperature ranges.  

As the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states in their 2021 Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit, "Potency is reduced every time a vaccine is exposed to an improper condition. This includes overexposure to heat, cold, or light at any step in the cold chain. Once lost, potency cannot be restored."

The CDC continues to reinforce the importance of storing vaccines with systems that are specifically built for vaccine storage, and NSF International has released a new NSF 456/ANSI standard to maintain for optimal vaccine efficiency. NSF/ANSI 456 is focused on vaccine storage uniformity and temperature stability. These standards are developed through public processes that include the balanced input and feedback from public health officials, regulatory officials, and industry representatives, as well as users or consumer representatives.

NSF/ANSI 456-2021a | Vaccine Storage

To ensure that every vaccine dose is as safe and effective as possible, the new and voluntary standard defines the construction and performance characteristics recommended. After all, the World Health Organization estimates that as much as 50% of vaccine doses are wasted annually; the leading cause of that waste is from the exposure of vaccines to freezing or inappropriate temperatures during storage, prior to one being vaccinated. The moment vaccines are exposed to temperatures outside of their necessary ranges, the whole batch must be discarded or else the risk of giving patients an ineffective dose greatly increases.

When assessing the performance of your clinical grade refrigerator or freezer, measuring the temperature uniformity by calculating the maximum difference in temperature throughout the unit is a great and simple first step.

The new standard covers construction details, controller requirements, and temperature variation. During testing, temperature is monitored using vaccine simulator ballast devices and must maintain specific temperature ranges at steady state and through short door openings. It's also important to keep user interaction in mind; when your staff minimizes the number of times they open the refrigerator or freezer, while also minimizing the length of time they are opened for, you will have greater accuracy in testing.

Your Partners in the new NSF Vaccine Standard

Considering the essential requirements for successful vaccine storage, high quality, high performance, and purpose-built refrigerators and freezers must be included in your procurement conversations.

When selecting your vaccine storage solutions, it's not only important to source from equipment manufacturers whose products reflect the latest healthcare and safety standards, but it's also important to work with equipment specialists who are knowledgeable of selecting the right pieces of equipment for your medical facility.

CME Corp has a team of industry experts for you to work with, and we are a proud distributor of American Biotech Supply (ABS) whose cold storage products reflect CDC and NSF guidelines; ABS is the first to have NSF/ANSI 456 Certified products for the market. As we continue to fight against COVID-19 and other vaccine-prevented diseases, we'd like to support you and your facility's needs to safeguard your valuable, life-saving vaccines. Contact your local Account Manager at CME or reach out to us by visiting our website.


About CME: CME Corp is the nation’s premier source for healthcare equipment, turnkey logistics, and biomedical services, representing 2 million+ products from more than 2,000 manufacturers.

With two corporate offices and 35+ service centers, our mission is to help healthcare facilities nationwide reduce the cost of the equipment they purchase, make their equipment specification, delivery, installation, and maintenance processes more efficient, and help them seamlessly launch, renovate and expand on schedule.

About American BioTech Supply: American BioTech Supply, a Horizon Scientific, Inc. company, is an active member of the committee that developed the NSF/ANSI 456 standard. ABS provides a full range of temperature-controlled equipment to our customers across the healthcare, laboratory and clinical research, pharmaceutical, and industrial segments. The extensive portfolio of quality products ranges from small capacity countertop refrigerators and freezers, including special purpose, application-specific models, as well as cryogenic freezers for long-term sample preservation.

With over 25 years of experience, American BioTech Supply excels at quickly developing customer solutions at competitive price points, while providing industry-leading service levels.

Capital Medical Equipment ABS COVID-19