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Posted: 09/19/2023
Farmer adjusting refirgerator temperature

How To Store Vaccines Properly

As with any product in a supply chain, vaccines make several stops between initial production and final delivery. But unlike some products that can sit on a warehouse shelf or in your tack room for weeks or months at a time, vaccines must be temperature-controlled and handled carefully at every turn before they get administered to animals. Otherwise, they can become ineffective. Because there is so much opportunity for error throughout this process, it’s important to trust the company you purchase vaccines from (to properly store and ship them), and to understand how to store your vaccines when you receive them. Read on for important refrigeration tips and more that can help protect your investment.

Selection of popular vaccines

Keeping Vaccines Cool

According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, most animal vaccines need to be stored between 35°F and 46°F. Maintaining that recommended temperature interval (RTI) for vaccine storage helps ensure your vaccine remains effective. That maintenance includes preventing the vaccine from freezing as well as avoiding sunlight exposure. These and other important storage efforts translate into a high vaccine efficacy.

How Long Can Animal Vaccines Be Unrefrigerated?

What exactly could happen if you discover an out-of-range temperature reading, or a product that was unrefrigerated? Living vaccine organisms die outside of necessary temperatures. Regardless of how long it was outside the range, the product is likely not viable and should not be administered without a manufacturer’s safety determination.

Always have a backup refrigeration plan in mind in case of emergency, and act quickly when you realize temps are off. Remember, even if a product has been properly refrigerated, anything that’s past the expiration date needs to be discarded.

Tips for Handling Vaccines with Care

Lots of planning and care goes into each supply chain transition and the product must be handled with the same care when it arrives at your facility. A good start is always knowing where your product is coming from – is it a trustworthy distributor? When a product arrives at your facility, record your lot and serial numbers so you have them in the event of a recall. Refrigerate the vaccines as soon as they arrive and always read the label instructions for proper storage protocols.

Vaccines are a large investment for any operation, so don’t trust just any refrigerator to protect them. Here are a few additional tips for consideration regarding the unit at your facility:

  • When possible, store your vaccines in a commercial refrigerator as they regulate temperatures better than basic household units (or mini fridges).
  • If you don’t have a commercial refrigerator, use a thermometer to monitor your refrigerator’s internal temperature and adjust it as needed.
  • Keep refrigerators in climate-controlled rooms because the temperature of the room can sometimes influence the appliance’s internal temperature.
  • Move the appliance space slightly away from the wall to ensure proper air flow (so any heat can disperse).
  • Organize your refrigerated items so you/your staff don’t spend lots of time looking for specific vaccines while the door is wide open. If you need to store colostrum, try to find a separate refrigerator so it doesn’t affect the vaccine unit’s internal temperature.

5-Point Vaccine Promise from PBS Animal Health

PBS Animal Health is a trusted and reliable source for your livestock and pet vaccines because our team goes to great lengths to ensure all vaccine products are handled with extensive care. It’s all part of our 5-Point Promise:

  1. Buy it RIGHT
  2. Receive it RIGHT
  3. Store it RIGHT
  4. Fulfill it RIGHT
  5. Ship it RIGHT

Our 5-Point Promise means that vaccines are done right at PBS Animal Health. Not only do we purchase from reputable manufacturers who have their temperature-controlled shipping down to a science, we also know exactly when to expect vaccine shipments and literally have a team waiting at the loading dock. They quickly move pallet coolers of vaccines from the truck to our 2,000-square-foot walk-in cooler for storage. As an extra layer of protection, we maintain a dedicated backup generator and temperature monitoring system for the cooler to protect the more than 500 types of vaccines we stock.

When it comes time to pull products for orders, vaccines get placed into insulated foil bags with ice packs to keep them cool. They then go into insulated containers that help the vaccines maintain the proper temperature (regardless of whether they’re used in the summer or winter months). If orders with temperature-controlled products arrive on Thursday or Friday, we purposely hold them and ship Monday to avoid getting stuck somewhere over the weekend.

We’ve got plenty of customer-favorite vaccines in stock to check out:

  • Inforce 3 Cattle Vaccine: Help get your cattle off to a healthier, more productive start with Inforce. It’s the first respiratory vaccine that prevents respiratory disease caused by BRSV and also aids in preventing IBR and PI3.
  • Triangle 10 HB with Enhance Cattle Vaccine: This leading killed viral vaccine with dual-strain BVD protection is safe for all ages and stages of cattle. It also comes ready to use with no mixing required.
  • CattleMaster GOLD FP 5 L5 Cattle Vaccine: Backed by Zoetis’ risk-free protection and performance guarantee (and several 5-star reviews from our customers!), CattleMaster GOLD delivers fetal protection from BVD-persistent infection and IBR abortion when administered prior to breeding.
  • Bovilis Nasalgen 3-PMH Cattle Vaccine: Avoid the stress of two separate vaccines and protect your beef and dairy cattle against 5 causes of both viral and bacterial pneumonia with just one dose of this intranasal vaccine.
To compare these and other vaccines for your herd, check out our Cattle Vaccine Comparison Chart. This detailed listing of vaccines categorizes products by disease prevention (respiratory, clostridial, mastitis, etc.) and includes notes on safety for newborns and pregnant cows, dosage, withdrawals, route of administration and more.

Protect Your Investment with Efficient Vaccine Shipments from PBS Animal Health

Ensuring the best immunity for your animals starts with choosing reputable vaccines and following through with proper storage. At PBS Animal Health, we know vaccines are a large investment for your livestock, so we’ll do everything we can to ensure efficient and insulated shipping directly to your doorstep. If you have questions about our vaccine storage and process, please contact us at or call +1 (800) 321-0235.

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