Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Scanning Two-Dimensional Barcodes Enhances Vaccine Clinical Practice


With millions of vaccines administered to patients each year, accurately recording vaccine information in patient records is essential. Vaccine information (like product identifier, lot number, and expiration date) helps healthcare providers determine which vaccines should be administered next and is vitally important should a vaccine recall, or a disease pandemic occur. Traditionally, vaccine information has been recorded in patient records manually by either typing the information into an electronic system or handwriting it in a paper chart. These types of manual approaches are error prone and time-consuming in general and are even more so with small vaccine vials and syringes where the font size is tiny. Unfortunately, this increases the risk of inaccurate and/or incomplete vaccine information in patient records.

Recognizing the importance of standards, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnered with GS1 US to leverage GS1 Standards for two-dimensional (2D) barcodes on vaccines; specifically, the GS1 Global Trade Item Number® (GTIN®), lot number, and expiration date encoded in a 2D GS1 DataMatrix barcode printed on a vaccine vial or syringe.

From 2013 to 2015, the CDC conducted the 2D Adoption Pilot to assess the impact of 2D barcoded vaccine vials and syringes: This case study outlines the results.

CDC Case Study Infographic

Source: CDC, 2D Adoption Pilot | 2013-2015


“Barcoding helps improve the data quality in immunization information systems’ confidential, population-based databases that record all information about immunizations administered. Information is critical in properly evaluating whether the right vaccine was given at the right time to the right patient, and then forecasting the due date for the next dose.”

Stuart Myerburg, Team Lead, Immunization Information Systems Support Branch, CDC

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