COVID-19 Vaccine Label: User Evaluation

Jacqueline Deelstra

Vaccine vial labels and packaging provide important information for healthcare workers, giving them confidence in how to administer a vaccine, and that it is safe and has maintained its potency. PATH’s Living Labs Initiative partnered with the World Health Organization and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to get healthcare worker feedback on the proposed universal draft models for COVID-19 vaccine vials and packaging. These labels are proposed to unify the labeling requirements for COVID-19 vaccines that will be supplied through the Access to COVID-19 Tools (Act) Accelerator.

Using human-centered design approaches, the Living Labs team gathered rapid insights on the proposed labels. These finding are being used to inform healthcare worker training on COVID-19 vaccine delivery and use, and to inform updates to label designs for future batches of vaccines produced by manufacturers. The Living Labs team leveraged existing relationships with immunization service providers in Zambia and Kenya to conduct this research study.

This page provides a list of key documents from PATH’s Living Labs Initiative to gather healthcare worker feedback on the proposed universal draft models for COVID-19 vaccine vials and packaging. It is organised into the following sections:

Process and results

Starting in December 2020, healthcare workers used an online survey to provide feedback on a sample label. Then, in January 2021 they participated in focus groups to discuss the prototype COVID-19 vaccine cartons and vials. Working through various immunization and supply scenarios, they analyzed the packaging to identify the label information and training they would need for proper storage, handling, and dosing. These human-centered design workshops included working together to draw their ideal vaccine labels that included all desired features and information.

Many in the focus groups expressed that a clear, effective label should contain dosing information, handling instructions, a batch number, vaccine vial monitors to detect heat exposure, and an expiration date. Participants also expressed that it should be distinct as many vaccine vials look the same and that can cause confusion.

Some said a barcode would be useful to authenticate the vaccine, and that a URL for the product website would be useful to access more information if needed. However, many of their facilities did not have software to scan barcodes or internet connectivity to get online.

Additional insights and results can be accessed in the evaluation report linked in the table below. 

These results have been shared with the ministries of health in Kenya and Zambia to help inform COVID-19 vaccine roll out plans and with the global immunization community to support better understanding of health care worker priority features for vaccine labels. Global discussions around COVID-19 vaccine label standardization are still ongoing and compete with other pressing COVID-19 priorities. 

PATH Living Labs Initiative documents