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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Hub

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Last updated June 04, 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Vaccination Waste Disposal Best Practices

Managing the influx of sharps waste resulting from the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines requires a waste management plan. Plans for different scenarios require consideration of unique needs. Vaccinations can occur at hospitals – both on-site and off-site (tents, pop-ups, annex building and other temporary locations) – as well as retail pharmacies, clinics and long-term care facilities. While considerations are similar for these situations, they are key for developing your plan for disposing of vaccination waste.

It’s necessary to evaluate where the administration will happen, where to source  sharps containers, where they should be located, how many vaccinations and patients are expected, and whether there are enough sharps containers to accommodate the waste generated. For on-site vaccination administration within your facility, Stericycle recommends increasing inventory of reusable sharps containers to accommodate increased volume of waste and not displace containers from other patient care areas.  For off-site administration, purchase additional disposable sharps containers to manage waste at the location. 

Manufacturers also recommend that fully discharged vaccine vials are discarded in sharps containers, which should be taken into account when planning container quantity. Vial trays should also be discarded as medical waste; refer to your vaccine manufacturer’s instructions for packaging waste.

Learn more about our safe, convenient and compliant solutions tailored to manage the surge in sharps and RMW waste from COVID-19 vaccinations.

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