Ordering, receiving and storing COVID-19 vaccines

Ian Allen, Pharmacy Quality Assurance Regional Specialist (NW), North West Pharmaceutical Quality AssurancePublished

Ordering COVID-19 vaccines

All COVID-19 Vaccines are supplied to vaccination sites via the Foundry system, together with the necessary syringes and needles for dilution (where required) and administration.  Further information on the use of Foundry may be found on the Future NHS site  (login required).

Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) will be provided with each vaccine delivery, and sites may order more through Foundry.

Receipt of COVID-19 vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines are usually supplied to vaccination sites at 2-8OC.

Some sites with the facility to handle frozen vaccines may receive

  • Spikevax vaccines frozen at -25OC to -15OC for immediate thawing in a refrigerator
  • Comirnaty vaccines frozen at -90OC to – 60OC, either for immediate thawing in a refrigerator or for storage in ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers

COVID-19 vaccines should be checked on receipt following local stock receipt procedures and stored at the correct temperature without delay, ensuring stock rotation so the shortest expiry stock will be used first.

SPS has produced example SOPs that describe the steps to be taken to receive, store and assign a post-thaw expiry date to COVID-19 vaccines. The attachments are presented in Word to enable adaptation locally, or as reference source to check that existing local procedures are robust and comprehensive. Within the SOPs, red text indicates where detail is to be added locally.


For further advice about handling vaccines received at ultra-low temperatures please refer to our article about Handling dry ice and vapour phase nitrogen shippers.

For further information about how each vaccine is presented, and how it should be stored, please refer to our Understanding the characteristics of COVID-19 Vaccines articles.

Storage of COVID-19 Vaccines

Before use, all COVID-19 vaccines must be stored in a refrigerator or freezer as appropriate to the vaccine. For guidance about maintaining the vaccine cold chain please see our series of articles on maintaining the vaccine cold chain.

Each of the vaccines has different requirements for storage at room temperature prior to use and following first puncture. For further information refer to our series of articles on understanding the characteristics of Covid-19 Vaccines and the SOPs for preparation of COVID-19 vaccines can be found in our series of articles on managing Covid-19 vaccines: Guidance and SOPs