Department of Health

Latest updates

Victoria has updated the Cold Chain management policy.

  • Immunisation providers must report all cold chain breaches for government funded vaccines
  • Use the new Cold chain breach report form to report vaccine cold chain breaches.

Key messages

Immunisation providers should follow the principles of safe vaccine storage management to ensure that clients receive effective and potent vaccines. The principles are contained in the National Vaccine Storage Guidelines - Strive for 5External Link .

Cold chain is the system of transporting or storing vaccine within the safe temperature range of +2°C to +8°C (strive for +5°C – the midway point).

A cold chain breach is

  • exposure of vaccines to temperatures outside the recommended range of +2°C to +8°C, excluding fluctuations up to +12°C lasting no longer than 15 minutes when restocking, cleaning the fridge or stock taking
  • exposure to light as vaccine has been removed from the packet and the glass fridge door allows light to penetrate.

Cold chain breach reporting – standard procedure

  • Complete the Cold chain Breach (CCB) report form when vaccines have been
    • Exposed to temperatures greater than +8°C (greater than 15 minutes)
    • Exposed to temperatures less than +2˚C
    • Exposed to light (if removed from packaging and exposed to direct sunlight or ultraviolet (UV) light, including fluorescent light).
  • Determine length and extent of breach
    • Download the data logger to assess the duration of the breach and the extent of temperatures reached.
  • Assess affected government funded vaccines
    • Count the number of doses of each vaccine exposed in this breach
    • Review your practice records to identify any vaccines exposed to a previous breach.
  • Complete the CCB report form and email to the department
    • Complete a separate report for each vaccine refrigerator affected
    • Attach all required documents (refer to form)
    • Email the form and attachments to immunisation@health.vic.gov.au.

Follow these steps for all CCBs

  1. Isolate the vaccines and place a sign on the vaccine refrigerator 'Do not use or discard vaccines until further notice'.
  2. Download and complete the Cold chain breach report form as soon as possible, complete and email to the department
  3. Continue to store vaccines between +2°C to +8°C. The vaccines may need to be transferred to an alternate purpose built vaccine refrigerator or cooler if available.
  4. Await advice from the Department of Health Immunisation Unit about what to do with each vaccine.
  5. Determine the cause of the breach and, where possible, address this to reduce the risk of the event recurring.

Downloads

Reviewed 31 October 2023

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