Department of Health

Cold chain management

For all COVID-19 vaccine cold chain breach information and action, see the Victorian COVID-19 vaccination guidelines.

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).

Cold chain breach is the exposure of vaccines to temperatures outside the recommended range of 2°C to 8°C, excluding fluctuations up to 12°C lasting less than 15 minutes when restocking, cleaning the fridge or stock taking.

In most cases, cold chain breaches must be reported to the department as soon as possible using the Cold Chain Breach Report form. This form is also used to report light exposure breaches for light-sensitive vaccines.

All immunisation providers should ensure effective cold chain management for vaccines using the National vaccine storage guidelines: Strive for 5 and the vaccine cold chain protocol checklist. This includes strategies for maintaining cold chain during a power outage and monitoring cold chain during vaccine transport.

Vaccine and Cold Chain Management Webinar - All staff education and training tool

The team at Eastern Melbourne PHN, on behalf of the Victorian PHN Alliance, have produced an educative training webinar on Vaccine and Cold Chain Management with active input from key sector and clinical specialists. The webinar runs for 34 minutes and is relevant for all staff involved with vaccine management from the time it is received by the service until the time the vaccine is administered to the client. 

Reviewed 09 November 2021


Contact details

Opening hours:  9am to 5pm Monday to Friday

Immunisation Unit Department of Health

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