TechNet-21 - Forum

This forum provides a place for members to ask questions, share experiences, coordinate activities, and discuss recent developments in immunization.
  1. Mukwaya Douglas
  2. Immunization information systems & coverage monitoring
  3. Sunday, 24 March 2019

Dear Forum,

We have continued having measles cases around the world despite the child’s immunization status. I have come across cases were a child was immunized but still gets the disease. I know most people will zero down to poor vaccine management practices, wrong immunization technique / practices and so on. However, we still have unanswered question, because some of the vaccines we use are live antigens and the question is will these vaccine get damaged if scanned using x-rays???? I will be glad if someone share any guideline regarding this issue.


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Fabian DE PAOLI Accepted Answer


Here are some information about Xray impact on Vaccines,


The Food Drug Association (FDA) states on their website in the section Frequently Asked Questions on Cabinet X-ray Systems that there are no known adverse effects from eating food, drinking beverages, using medicine, or applying cosmetics that have been irradiated by a cabinet X-ray system used for security screening.

A background radiation is constantly present in the natural environment of the Earth, which is emitted by natural and artificial sources.

A transatlantic shipment of 7 hours would be exposed to 10 times the X-ray energy as compared to X-ray dose emitted by a port security system.

The FDA provides also the following information regarding levels of radiation:

·      One year of naturally occurring background radiation: 300 mRem (=3000 µSv)

·      Flight from New York to Los Angeles: 4 mRem (=40 µSv)

·      The radiation dose typically received by objects scanned by a cabinet X-ray system is 1 millirad or less. (=10 µSv)

·      The minimum dose used in food irradiation for food preservation or destruction of parasites or pathogens is 30,000 rad. (=300 Sv).

According to an article titled “Air crew radiation exposure - An overview” by Susan Bailey published in Nuclear News (January 2000), the effective X-ray dose during a commercial flight from London to New York (duration 6.8 hours) can range from 23.8 - 40.0 µSV with a mean of 34.0 µSv.

According to a white paper published by Rapiscan systems (December 2010), the world’s foremost supplier of security scanning systems, a single dose per inspection is about one-half of the normal daily background radiation at sea level and about one-fourth to one-sixth of the dose received from flying from coast to coast in the US due to exposures from ionizing radiation at higher altitudes.

Based upon the above evaluation and relating information, it can be concluded that vaccines exposed to X-ray during transportation security scanning, do not experience any detrimental product impact. The levels of X-ray exposure during security scanning are far below the levels of exposure due to natural background radiation and cosmic radiation received during air transportation.



Best regards,


Fabian De Paoli


Cold Chain, Vaccine Distribution & Cold Chain


GSK Vaccines

Av. Fleming, 20 - Wavre 1300 - BELGIUM


Mobile    +32 479 591 467

Tel           +32 10 85 8878  |  Twitter  |  YouTube  |  Facebook  |  Flickr



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