Cold chain management

The cold chain is a system of transporting and storing vaccines within a recommended temperature range of +2 to +8 degrees Celsius (°C).

The cold chain:

  • begins from the time the vaccine is manufactured
  • continues:
    • through transport of vaccines to the state distribution centre
    • from the state distribution centre to immunisation service providers
    • during storage of vaccines by immunisation service providers. 
  • ends when the vaccine is administered.

Maintaining the cold chain is important as excessive heat or cold can reduce vaccine potency. 

Cold chain breach and wastage reporting

A cold chain breach occurs when vaccine temperatures are outside +2 to +8 °C during vaccine storage or transport. 

For all cold chain breaches involving government-funded vaccines follow the WA cold chain protocol (PDF 60KB) and use the Cold Chain Breach and Vaccine Wastage Form (PDF 127KB) to report the breach to your Public Health Unit immunisation coordinators (Healthy WA).

The Cold Chain Breach and Vaccine Wastage Form (PDF 127KB) should be used to report government-funded vaccine incidents including expiry (excluding Pharmacist Influenza Immunisation Trial). 

Pharmacist Influenza Immunisation Trial

If influenza vaccines provided under the National Immunisation Program for the pharmacy trial are involved in a cold chain breach, complete the Vaccine cold chain form – government funded influenza vaccines (Word 100KB). Follow the instructions on the form and contact your relevant Public Health Unit (as listed on the form), to seek thermal stability advice. For further information visit the Pharmacist influenza vaccination trial webpage.

Cold chain management resources

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