Storage requirements for each COVID-19 Vaccine

Ian Allen, Pharmacy Quality Assurance Regional Specialist (NW), North West Pharmaceutical Quality AssurancePublished Last updated See all updates

Specific requirements must be adhered to for each vaccine as per the MHRA 174 information for health care professionals. We've summarised key requirements.

COVID-19 Vaccine Pfizer BioNTech

  • Maximum shelf life is 6 months stored in a freezer at -80°C to -60°C
  • 31 days at 2-8°C after thaw (assign immediately after removing from freezer)
  • In addition, once removed from the fridge may be stored between 2 to 25°C for 2 hours prior to dilution
  • In addition, once diluted may be stored between 2 to 25°C for a further 6 hours
  • Once thawed, the vaccine cannot be re-frozen
  • During storage, minimise exposure to room light, and avoid exposure to direct sunlight and ultraviolet light

This vaccine will be licensed shortly with slightly different storage requirements to those listed above. For more information about Pfizer vaccine stability outside of the storage conditions stated above please contact SPS questions.

COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca Vaccine

  • Maximum shelf life is 6 months stored in a refrigerator between 2 to 8°C
  • Once removed from the fridge, may be stored between 2 to 25°C for up 6 hours
  • Once punctured, the vial must be used within 6 hours
  • Must not be frozen
  • During storage keep vials in outer carton to protect from light

COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna Vaccine

  • Maximum shelf life is 7 months stored in a freezer at -25°C to -15°C
  • Do not store on dry ice or below -40 ºC
  • 30 days at 2 to 8°C after thaw (assign immediately after removing from freezer)
  • Once removed from the fridge, may be stored between 8 to 25°C for up 12 hours
  • Once punctured, the vial must be used within 6 hours
  • Once thawed, the vaccine cannot be re-frozen
  • During storage keep vials in outer carton to protect from light

See also

MHRA regulatory approvals

Regulatory approval of COVID-19 Vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech

Regulatory approval of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca

Our Standard Operating Procedures

Many of our standard operating procedures cover cold chain maintenance by vaccine and setting, and can be accessed below.

SOPs for Pfizer-BioNTech in PCNs

SOPs for Pfizer-BioNTech in Trusts

SOPs for AstraZeneca in PCNs

SOPs for AstraZeneca in Trusts

SOPs for Moderna in PCNs

SOPs for Moderna in Trusts

Change history

  1. Pfizer BioNTech vaccine post thaw refrigerated expiry increase to 31 days
  1. Published