Using COVID-19 Vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech appropriately in temporary vaccination sites

Mark Cheeseman, Professional Lead for Medicines Information, Midlands & East, Midlands and East Medicines Advice Service (East site)Published Last updated See all updates

Advice on appropriately transporting, storing, preparing and administering COVID-19 Vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech. Assumes the vaccine is received thawed.

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Appropriate use of site model

The COVID-19 Vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech is not appropriate for a “drive-through” temporary vaccination site model.

Other key material

Prior to using COVID-19 Vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech in temporary vaccination sites, you should familiarise yourself with key material below.

Using COVID-19 vaccines appropriately in temporary vaccination sites

In temporary vaccination sites, good medicines governance will ensure safe and secure handling. Key issues are listed and implementation tools are provided.

Institutional Readiness for Managing COVID-19 Vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech in Trusts

Must read guidance for Chief Pharmacists and others in Trusts on the COVID-19 Vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech.

COVID-19 Vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech pathway critical control points presentation for Trusts

A guidance presentation for process supervisors on COVID-19 Vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech pathway critical control points

Transporting to site

Consider the following when transporting the vaccine to temporary vaccination sites.

The vaccine is sensitive to movement

  • Keep vials upright during transport and storage.
  • Securely pack thawed vials.

Temperature and time constraints

  • Transport of the undiluted product at 2-8ºC can occur either in two journeys each up to 6 hours or a single journey up to 12 hours.

Storing on site

Consider the following when storing the vaccine at temporary vaccination sites.

Temperature and time constraints

  • Shelf life is 31 days at 2-8°C after thawing.
  • The vials may then be stored for up to a further 2 hrs at up to 25°C prior to dilution.

Protect from UV and sunlight

  • Vials can be handled in room light conditions, but must be protected from exposure to ultraviolet light and sunlight.

Preparing on site

Consider the following when preparing the vaccine at temporary vaccination sites.

Appropriate workstation practice

  • Provide a dedicated area for vaccine preparation.
  • Organise your workstation to ensure concentrate and diluted vials are adequately segregated.

Appropriate dilution practice

  • Dilute before withdrawal of doses.
  • Invert vials gently 10 times before and after dilution.
  • After dilution, use the vial as soon as possible but may be stored for up to 6 hrs at up to 25ºC.

Protect from UV and sunlight

  • Vials can be handled in room light conditions, but must be protected from exposure to ultraviolet light and sunlight.

Administering on site

Consider the following when administering the vaccine at temporary vaccination sites.

Temperature and time constraints

  • Minimise the time between preparation and administration.
  • Protect the vaccine from temperatures above 25ºC and below 2ºC.

The vaccine is sensitive to movement

  • Minimise movement and transport of diluted vial.
  • Do not shake the vial.

Protect from UV and sunlight

  • Vials can be handled in room light conditions, but must be protected from exposure to ultraviolet light and sunlight.

See also

Using COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca appropriately in temporary vaccination sites

Advice on appropriately transporting, storing, preparing and administering COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca for a "drive-through" model.

Change history

  1. Shelf life of thawed vaccine amended to 31 days from 120 hours.
  1. Published