The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the National Volunteer Fire Council’s Pandemic Task Force and Standards and Codes Committee has released a vaccine transport safety guide. The document is intended to be used as general guidance for first responders dealing with transportation and/or fixed facility emergencies potentially involving the shipment, use, and/or storage of the COVID vaccine(s). (The guidance is not designed or intended to supersede local Emergency Response Plans or standard operating procedures or guidelines (SOPs/SOGs). This guidance is for INITIAL RESPONSE consideration only.) As always, responders should operate within the scope and limitations of their training.

The recently-approved COVID-19 vaccine must be stored at -70 degrees C (-94 F). To maintain this ultra-low temperature during shipment and storage, the vaccine will be packed in dry ice (solid carbon dioxide), a hazardous material.

The vaccines may be transported by any one or more of the following: military/National Guard vehicles; state or public health authority vehicles; medical couriers; commercial couriers; private vehicles; other. These vehicles may or may not be labeled and/or placarded.

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