Storage and Handling for Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis Vaccines

Proper vaccine storage and handling practices play an important role in protecting individuals and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases. For general recommendations and guidance, see Vaccine Storage and Handling. Provided below is guidance specific to diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines.

Temperature

  • Store diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines refrigerated between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F).
  • Do not freeze vaccine or expose to freezing temperatures. If the vaccine has been exposed to inappropriate conditions/temperatures or handled improperly:
    • Store the vaccine at the appropriate temperature
    • Isolate from other vaccines
    • Mark “Do NOT Use”
    • Consult the vaccine manufacturer and/or your state or local immunization program for guidance

Storage

Vaccine Storage and Handling
Image of a refrigerator and a freezer.

Proper vaccine storage and handling practices play a very important role in protecting individuals and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases.

  • Store diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines in the original packaging.
    • For the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine that require reconstitution, Pentacel®, the manufacturer packages the diluent and vaccine together and they should be stored together in the refrigerator.
  • Diphtheria toxoid-, tetanus toxoid-, and acellular pertussis-containing vaccines (DTaP and Tdap) are easily confused, increasing the risk for error. Consider organizing vaccines in the storage unit by age group or color coding labels to distinguish vaccines from each other. Labeling the space where the vaccine is stored with name, age indications, and other information unique to the vaccine can help prevent vaccine administration errors.

Reconstitution

  • For the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine that requires reconstitution, Pentacel®, do NOT use if you cannot resuspend the reconstituted vaccine after thorough agitation.
    • Only reconstitute Pentacel® with the diluent provided by the vaccine manufacturer.
    • Never use stock vials of normal saline to reconstitute Pentacel®.

Disposal

  • Discard vaccine vials and syringes in compliance with state and federal regulations.
Page last reviewed: December 17, 2018