How to correctly pack vaccines for transport

How to correctly pack vaccines for transport

Vaccine cooler boxes

How to correctly pack vaccines for transport

Amid a world pandemic, South Africa, along with other nations across the globe, has found itself less than prepared for the logistic demands of the vaccine cold chain.


Our production team here at Minus40 stepped up to the challenge and produced a vaccine cooler box that would ensure the safety of the highly valuable vaccine. Naturally, quality and durability would never be compromised as part of the Minus40 standard, but more than anything, these units need to hold temperature reliably.


After our product launch in June 2021, we received positive feedback on our VB07 model, however, there are many individuals within the distribution chain that are not confident with the vaccine packaging procedure. We, therefore, prepared the following document, along with our latest YouTube video, to demonstrate just how easy this process can be.


How to pack your 7-litre Minus40 vaccine cooler box


If you look at the outside instruction on any vaccine cooler box, you should find the product specifications, including the unit litre capacity. This provides a rough indication of the number of vaccines that can be stored within the unit.

The specification should also specify whether the unit is designed for short-range or long-range transport. Our Minus40 VB07 Vaccine cooler has a cold life of 60 hours at 43°C degrees Celsius and therefore a short-range model.


With our Minus40 coolers, there are also stainless-steel handles on either side. Due to the weight of a fully-loaded 7-litre vaccine cooler, straps are not recommended.


The stop sign at the top of any vaccine coolers indicates that these units should only be opened when necessary to prevent unnecessary cold loss.


Inside the unit

The VB07 Minus40 vaccine cooler lid can open at a 90 degrees angle for easy loading of vaccines. Inside the lid is a quick instruction on how to pack the vaccines. See the illustration below:





The unit comes with a product manual and 24 ice packs.

This vaccine cooler box is designed with 24 ice packs which need to be kept between 2 °C to 8°C degrees.

Temperature monitoring

Due to the new regulations in South Africa, all vaccines must be fully monitored through the cold chain. This includes the temperature range of the vaccine cooler box during transit. To accurately record the temperature, we recommend a data logging devise. There are numerous options and brands available, but here at Minus40, we rely heavily on Log Tag.


The Log Tag Utrid-16 Temperature data logging device is designed with Vaccine coolers in mind and can be placed directly in the unit. Caution should be taken, to ensure the data logging device is not placed near the wall of the cooler or next to an ice pack. This would compromise the accuracy of the temperature reading.

The 6 steps to packing the vaccine cooler

  1. Assuming your ice packs are filled with water and cooled between 2 to 8 degrees, take the first 6 ice packs and place them flat on the bottom of the cooler.
  2. Place an additional 12 ice packs facing up against the wall of the vaccine cooler.
  3. With 18 ice packs inside the unit, place the vaccine boxes or packaging in the middle of the cooler. The quantity should add up to approximately 7 litres of vaccines.
  4. After placing the vaccines, insert a divider in the middle of the box. Minus40 units come with a foam divider sized for this purpose.
  5. The temperature data logging device can then be placed in the centre, taking caution to avoid any contact with the ice packs.
  6. Finally, cover the top of the vaccines with the remaining 6 ice packs. And add the additional foam for added security.


Once the lid is closed, sealed and locked, the unit should remain closed until the delivery location.  Only removing the temperature data logger once the vaccines are transferred to a medical or vaccine fridge.


For more information on this process, you can visit the below link to our vaccine packaging video;