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Thermal Analysis of a Small Pharmaceutical Refrigerator for Vaccine Storage



Michal J. Chojnacky


Each year, billions of dollars of vaccines are stored in refrigerators at the facilities of a variety of medical providers. Many vaccines must be maintained in the range 2 °C to 8 °C to retain product potency. As an extension to our study of household and pharmaceutical-grade refrigerator models used for this purpose [1,2], we have evaluated the performance of a small, under-the-counter pharmaceutical refrigerator model for vaccine storage use. This unit [capacity = 0.138 m3 (4.9 cu ft)] proved fully adequate at maintaining vial temperatures within the desired 2 °C to 8 °C range, independent of how the refrigerator was loaded and under variable use and environmental conditions.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7900
Report Number


Cold Chain, Vaccine Storage Refrigerator, Temperature Monitoring, Digital Data Logger, Vaccine Storage and Handling, Vaccines for Children, Centers for Disease Control


Chojnacky, M. (2012), Thermal Analysis of a Small Pharmaceutical Refrigerator for Vaccine Storage, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 24, 2024)


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Created November 23, 2012, Updated November 10, 2018