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NSF 456 Vaccine Refrigerators and Freezers Testing

Introduction to the NSF 456 standard for vaccine storage.

The doctor takes out medicine from the refrigerator with a disposable syringe

Testing vaccine refrigerator construction, performance and safety

Researchers around the world are addressing the development of vaccines that are considered a key strategy for halting the current pandemic and an ever-growing family of immunizations for viral and bacterial illnesses. Pharmaceutical companies, suppliers, governments and nonprofit organizations are busy readying the supply chain to handle a high number of needed vaccines.

To ensure maximum effectiveness, shelf life and safety, vaccines depend on storage and delivery devices with reliable temperature stability. Failing to keep vaccinations at the correct temperatures, can result in degradation and microbial growth.

Temperature control requirements for vaccine refrigerators and freezers are generally more precise and sophisticated than their typical household counterparts.

To help ensure that storage equipment performs as intended to preserve the viability of each dose, a new American national standard, NSF 456, Vaccine Storage, was developed. NSF 456 focuses on the design and performance of products that are intended to hold vaccines at specified temperatures.

UL Solutions is at the forefront of technical and regulatory advancements, and our testing service for refrigerators and freezers used for vaccines helps manufacturers follow applicable standards and the CDC guidelines a to manage temperature monitoring capabilities. 

Our involvement in both safety and performance testing of laboratory grade freezers/refrigerators helps manufacturers to:

  • Navigate the new requirements
  • Leverage UL Solutions’ expertise
  • Optionally, combine safety, sanitation and energy efficiency testing, with the aim of reducing time and costs.

Testing vaccine refrigerator and freezer units to NSF 456, Vaccine Storage

NSF 456 focuses on the design and performance of products that are intended to hold vaccines at proper refrigeration or freezing temperatures. Compliance requires equipment to be tested against a rigorous protocol for construction and performance.

The standard covers refrigerators, freezers and combination units that are comprised of separate refrigerator and freezer sections.

UL Solutions tests to NSF 456 and certifies equipment according to the applicable sanitation standards.

Additional standards and guidelines that safeguard and support medical refrigerators for vaccines

UL Solutions provides testing and certification expertise for vaccine refrigeration and lab equipment standards and guidelines, including:

  • Safety: UL 471, Standard for Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers; UL 60335-2-24, Standard for Household and Similar Electrical Appliances – Safety; UL/IEC 60335-2-89, Household and Similar Electrical Appliances - Safety Particular Requirements for Commercial Refrigerating Appliances with an Incorporated or Remote Refrigerant Unit or Compressor; IEC 61010-2-011
  • Sanitation: NSF 456
  • Energy Efficiency: ENERGY STAR® testing, Ecodesign
  • Performance: World Health Organization (WHO) Performance, Quality and Safety (PQS) requirements and
  • UL Marketing Claim Verification service

UL Solutions can also offer customized assessments for new and emerging technologies in medical and vaccine refrigeration.

Choose UL Solutions for vaccine grade refrigerator testing and certification

We confirm through independent, rigorous testing that products meet applicable safety standards.

Our global footprint, with more than 150 UL Solutions laboratories for testing and certification worldwide, provides local support and reliability: because there must be no compromise when patient safety is at stake.


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