Cold chain

The National Vaccine Storage Guidelines – Strive for 5 (3rd edition) has useful information on the cold chain. 

For more information, please phone the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (LHD) Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 or the Southern NSW Local Health District (LHD) Public Health Unit on (02) 4824 1837. Ask to speak to the Public Health Officer. 

The Ministry of Health requires practices to complete a cold chain breach reporting form when vaccines are exposed to temperatures outside 2-8oC.

Remember to follow the principles of safe vaccine storage management to ensure safe and effective vaccines are given to your patients. NSW Health has developed a Safe Vaccine Storage Checklist to ensure you are completing all safe storage steps as well as a Cold Chain Toolkit to support immunisation providers.

The NSW Health cold chain management training module can be accessed from the NSW Health cold chain webpage.

If you do identify an issue with the cold chain, please follow these steps:

  • DO NOT discard vaccines but quarantine the vaccines in the fridge and label ‘do not use’
  • notify the practice manager or relevant staff member
  • contact the Public Health Unit (PHU) as soon as possible during business hours
  • download the data logging report for the past week, including the cold chain breach
  • forward data logging report and a scanned copy of your twice daily temperature checks chart to the PHU
  • the PHU will send you a cold chain breach reporting form to complete
  • the PHU will provide information as to the viability of the vaccines according to manufacturer’s vaccine thermostability data
  • you may be required to label vaccines subjected to cold chain breach but still able to be used
  • documentation of staff completion of the NSW online module for vaccine storage and cold chain management (click here)
  • there may also be a requirement to have the fridge serviced and provide three days of data logging before restocking is allowed.