January 26, 2024

Handling COVID-19 vaccines in the summer heat

Cartoon image of a man showing his arm where he received a vaccination

With increasing temperatures this summer, it is important to think about your COVID-19 vaccines to ensure their continued safety, quality and efficacy.

Remember, the maximum storage temperature of Comirnaty vaccines is up to +30C°, and for Nuvaxovid it is +25°C. It is still a requirement to monitor the ambient (room) temperature when working with these vaccines.

Here are ways to ensure the safety, quality and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines:


Undertake a review

An assessment should be made of all areas in which vaccines may be stored, prepared and administered to identify any necessary preventive actions to be taken if ambient temperatures are likely to exceed 25°C or 30C° (as applicable). In summer, this would be most areas with no air conditioning option.


Monitor frequently

Frequent measurements should be taken with a validated digital thermometer. If temperatures are not stable and rising, then increased monitoring needs to be done. Action must be taken quickly to prevent temperatures exceeding the permitted maximum – DO NOT wait until you are almost there, it may be too late.

Use the Ambient Air Temperature Monitoring Record to document your readings and any modifying steps you take.


Manage the risk

To minimise the time that vaccines are outside the refrigerator, look at your workflow processes from storage to preparation time, and to administration to the patient. The aim is to reduce the time of exposure of punctured vials or drawn-up syringes to increased ambient temperatures by returning them to the fridge for storage prior to use. Ensure the vials and/or syringe sare clearly labelled and kept separate so they are not mixed up with any other unpunctured/undiluted vaccines.

To maintain temperatures within the required range additional mechanical controls (e.g, portable air conditioning) may be used if available. For future planning, a more long-term permanent solution will need to be found.

If you have any concerns or queries about vaccine storage, please contact your Immunisation Coordinator or call 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863).