Intended for healthcare professionals
CPD modules

Safe storage and handling of vaccines

  • Peer reviewed
  • Certificate
  • Learning time: 02 hrs
  • Last updated: 2022
  • Link to RCNi Revalidation Portfolio

This learning module is aimed at increasing nurses' confidence so they can review and enhance, or if necessary develop, a vaccine storage and handling protocol, thereby ensuring best care and patient safety. The importance, locally and globally, of maintaining the 'cold chain', from manufacture, through delivery and storage, to patient administration, is discussed.

Don't forget that you don't have to complete our two-hour learning modules all in one go. Tailor your learning to fit your busy schedule by undertaking one or two sections at a time. You can stop and save your learning at any point, and pick up where you left off when you return.

Intended learning outcomes

In the UK, vaccination programmes are undertaken predominantly in primary care although many vaccines are also administered in occupational health (private companies and NHS secondary care), private travel clinics, school and military settings. Vaccines and many medications such as insulin and chemotherapy require storage in the cold chain, which in this case involves maintaining a temperature range of between +2C and +8C. Therefore, the topic of cold chain storage is wide-reaching and important in vaccine management.

This learning module for nurses focuses on vaccine storage and handling in the healthcare setting, with minimal reference to ordering and disposal of vaccines. However, resources will also direct the reader to further information and perhaps evoke greater consideration for more unusual settings such as the home or travel abroad.

After reading this module and completing the time out activities you should be able to:

  • Define the cold chain and describe the importance of such knowledge.
  • Identify the elements required to ensure safe vaccine storage and handling.
  • Apply knowledge of safe vaccine storage and handling to practice and consider writing a protocol for your workplace.
  • Evaluate the principles of vaccine storage and apply this knowledge, where appropriate, to more unusual settings.

This module is broken down into the following sections:

  • Aims & Intended learning outcomes
  • Introduction
  • Global need for effective vaccine management
  • Vaccine management in resource-wealthy countries
  • UK policy and resources
  • Policy for vaccine storage
  • Effects of vaccine storage outside the recommended temperature range
  • Equipment details
  • Importance of temperature records and summary of cold chain disruption
  • Cold chain issues in travel health
  • Conclusions


Please note that information provided by RCNi Learning is not sufficient to ensure competence in the skill. Assessment of competence should take place in line with local practice. Practice should always align with local protocols and procedures, latest guidelines and any regulatory code. All modules should currently be viewed together with available national and local Covid-19 guidelines. For advice, go to

Anan Purushothaman, Practice development nurse, Liver Intensive Care Unit, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London.

Access to RCNi Learning is now included as part of RCNi Plus



Your subscription package includes:
  • Customisable clinical dashboard with full access to all topics
  • RCNi’s 10 online specialist journals and their archives
  • RCNi Learning featuring 170+ CPD-accredited modules
  • RCNi Revalidation Portfolio and revalidation alerts
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your clinical interests
  • Dedicated apps to keep you informed on the go

- You may cancel at any time -

RCN Student member?

Why learn with us?

All our modules include CPD certificates. They are evidence-based and have been subject to an external double-blind peer review.

Personal revalidation RCNi Revalidation Portfolio to document learning. Download as a PDF to submit to the NMC

Log CPD hours, write a reflective account and save certificate into RCNi Revalidation Portfolio

Pre and post module tests let you measure your progress. Further reading list included