Coronavirus Vaccine Disposal for Healthcare Facilities

Vaccine disposal guidance and tailored solutions for managing COVID-19 vaccination waste safely and compliantly.

We’re in This Together

Stericycle has mobilized at each stage of the COVID-19 pandemic to best serve our customers and their communities. We have been partnering with our network of stakeholders from provincial and federal governments as well as with vaccine manufacturers throughout the development of vaccination rollout plans. To assist in your vaccination preparation and administration efforts, we’re providing the most up-to-date guidance on how to manage medical waste generated from COVID-19 vaccinations.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Knowledge Center

Access the latest COVID-19 guidance, regulatory updates, our response, and valuable resources, such as our packaging guidelines and webinars.

Learn more by visiting our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Knowledge Center.

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Stericycle’s Vaccine Waste Disposal Guidance

The recommended guidance suggests the disposal of COVID-19 vaccine related wastes should follow the same processes used when administering other vaccines. Remember to consider provincial regulatory requirements as disposal requirements may vary.

Vaccine Packaging


Used syringes must be captured in disposable or reusable sharps containers and disposed of as biomedical waste.

Empty Vials

The Department of Defense has recommended that all vial waste be captured in sharps containers to mitigate potential diversion and illicit intent. Once placed in a sharps container, the container should be managed as biomedical waste.

Other Medical Waste

Gloves, gauze, cotton balls, bandages, and the like should not be placed in disposable sharps containers. Those items can go into the regular trash, or if considered potentially infectious material, disposed in biomedical waste containers.

Vaccine Packaging

Vaccine Packaging

This material can be disposed of as regulated medical waste. Please refer to your vaccine manufacturer's instructions for packaging waste such as trays and boxes.

Full or Partial Vials (also called Residual Doses)

Once placed in a sharps container, these items should be managed as regulated medical waste or as non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste.

Dry Ice

Stericycle does not offer services to safely dispose of dry ice.  While dry ice is not medical waste, it should be handled and disposed of by following official guidance from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.

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Why Stericycle?

Your Single Nationwide Partners

We manage all healthcare regulated waste streams, and offer related compliance support such as training and educational materials. Our network of localized team members across the country maintain a 97% on-time pickup rate.1

Your Risk Reduction Experts

Our Regulatory Affairs team under Environmental Health & Safety keeps up to date with regulatory changes and engages with federal, provincial, and local agencies as needed to help keep our customers informed and compliant.

Your Sustainability Champion

In 2023, Stericycle recycled 906 million pounds of paper, incinerated 55 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste, and helped our customers divert 101 million pounds of plastic from landfills by using reusable sharps and pharmaceutical waste containers rather than single-use containers.1

1. Source: Stericycle data, 2023.