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 cold chain breaches involving government-funded vaccines follow the WA cold chain protocol (PDF 60KB) and follow the process on the Cold Chain Breach and Vaccine Wastage Form (PDF 127KB) to report the breach to your Public Health Unit immunisation coordinators (Healthy WA). This form is used to report government-funded vaccine wastage (excluding for Pharmacist influenza vaccination trial see below).

Pharmacist Influenza Immunisation Trial

If influenza vaccines provided for the trial are involved in a cold chain breach, visit the Pharmacist influenza vaccination trial webpage for further information.

Cold chain management resources

More information

Last reviewed: 10-03-2020
Produced by

Public Health