Vaccine 2D Barcoding for Manufacturers

View which manufacturers have added 2D barcodes to the UoU in the List of Vaccines Shipping with 2D Barcodes.

Vaccine manufacturers play a key role in affixing 2D barcodes on vaccine products. The Drug Supply Chain Security Act, enacted in 2013, mandated 2D barcodes on the secondary packaging, or unit of sale (UoS). An increasing number of manufacturers have added 2D barcodes to the unit of use (UoU) packaging (e.g., vials, syringes) for the purpose of scanning upon vaccine administration as well.

The following resources discuss the implications, opportunities, and challenges of implementing 2D barcode technology on vaccine products and provide guidance on requirements and general specifications to-date. Also included is historical information on the 2012 CDC Vaccine Manufacturers Forum.

2D Barcode Resources

Description and Benefits of 2D Barcodes and Scanning during Mass Vaccinations

This one-page brief [1 page] provides a description of vaccine 2D barcodes and the benefits of scanning them during mass vaccinations.

A Brief on Different Vaccine Lot Numbers on Unit of Sale (package) and Unit of Use (vial/syringe)

This two-page brief [2 pages]describes the background and challenges of different vaccine lot numbers on the unit of sale vaccine product (package or salable box) and the unit of use vaccine product (e.g., vial, syringe). The brief includes current tools, ongoing efforts, and plans to update information related to this issue.

The Drug Supply Chain Security Act and 2D Vaccine Barcodes

The Drug Supply Chain Security Act and 2D Vaccine Barcodes [15 pages] report evaluates the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) from the perspective of vaccine 2D barcode scanning. This law aims to enhance the FDA’s ability to protect consumers by identifying and removing counterfeit and dangerous medicines/products from the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chains and calls for the implementation of an electronic, interoperable system by 2023. More information about this law is available at the FDA web site.

Vaccine Manufacturers Forum


On January 26, 2012 CDC held a 2D Barcode Vaccine Manufacturers Forum to engage the vaccine manufacturing community. It included vaccine product manufacturers, their distributors, and trading partners in presentations and discussions on the implications, opportunities, and challenges of implementing 2D barcoding technology on vaccine products.

It was attended by over 60 industry stakeholders including 26 representatives from 10 vaccine manufacturing companies. In addition to the manufacturers, the Forum was attended by representatives of retail pharmacy supply chains, standards organizations, and trade associations. Regulatory and global agencies including World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and CDC participated in the event, providing a unique opportunity for the industry and regulators to connect and discuss the changing requirements and standards for vaccines.

Speakers discussed implementation issues and standards related to 2D barcoding technology for vaccine products. A working session during the forum divided attendees into smaller groups to discuss topics related to opportunities and challenges regarding 2D barcode implementation.


The goals and objectives of the Forum were:

  • Engage the vaccine manufacturing community in the discussion of the benefits, impacts, and challenges of implementing 2D barcoding.
  • Understand the regulations and standards landscape in more detail.
  • Explore the options and considerations for moving the industry forward toward the implementation of 2D barcoding of vaccine products.


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