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Storage and Handling for Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis Vaccines

One of the Recommended Vaccines by Disease

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,” and 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 diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines that require reconstitution (Pentacel®), diluent and vaccine are packaged together and should be stored together in the refrigerator.
  • Diphtheria toxoid- and tetanus toxoid-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 diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines that require reconstitution (Pentacel®), do NOT use if the reconstituted vaccine cannot be resuspended with thorough agitation.
    • Pentacel® should only be reconstituted with the diluent provided by the vaccine manufacturer.
    • Stock vials of normal saline should never be used to reconstitute these vaccines.

Disposal

  • Discard vaccine vials and syringes using proper medical waste disposal procedures.

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