Vaccine Barcoding


2D barcoding technology includes product information, lot number, and expiration date. The goal of using 2D barcoding is to reduce medical errors and help healthcare providers more accurately record and document vaccine information in patient records. Having a 2D barcode on the product, while an important piece, is only the first step of many that practices will need to fully utilize 2D barcoding in the office.



Education & Guidance

Clinician Guidance- Includes information on getting your office ready and choosing a scanner. (12/2011)


Manufacturer Guidance- This guideline provides sufficient information and technical detail to implement GS1 DataMatrix technology (2/2012)


Product Available with 2D Barcodes

2D barcoding is now available on 11 sanofi pasteur products and 8 GSK products. The CDC maintains a list of 2D barcoded vaccines currently shipping. Merck announced that 2D barcodes will begin to appear on Merck vaccine vial, tub and syringe labels in the 1st Quarter of 2014. The first Merck vaccine to display a 2D barcode will be VARIVAX®.


Since April 2012, all Vaccine Information Statements VIS include a 2D barcode. Learn more about barcoded VIS sheets.


CDC Implementation Pilot

In September 2011, the CDC initiated a 2D vaccine barcoding pilot project designed to assess the effect of 2D barcodes on vaccine data completeness and accuracy as well as to observe the impact of 2D barcode use on inventory and vaccination procedures. Participants in the pilot received scanning devices, software, and associated training. The pilot also addressed implementation opportunities with EMRs and state immunization information systems.


The CDC Web page for 2D barcoded information is regularly updated to reflect developments and finding from pilot efforts.


In 2013 the CDC initiated a related pilot to assess the impact of 2D barcodes on vaccination data and operational processes in retail pharmacy, community vaccinator, publicly funded immunizer and private provider settings.   


For more information, contact or visit the CDC 2D barcode page.


The CDC consulted EHR and IIS solution vendors to develop a set of recommended functional capabilities for 2D barcode scanning of inventory, vaccinations, and VIS. 



International Partnerships

  • The Public Health Agency of Canada is working on similar efforts to implement 2D barcodes on vaccine products that include expiration date and lot number.

Last Updated: 12/12/2013


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