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 report the breach to your Public Health Unit immunisation coordinators (Healthy WA).

For government-funded vaccine incidents, excluding Pharmacist Influenza Immunisation Trial, use the Cold Chain Breach and Vaccine Wastage Form (PDF 127KB) to report all incidents including expiry.

Pharmacist Influenza Immunisation Trial

For the trial, use the abridged Pharmacy Cold Chain Breach and Vaccine Wastage Form located at the Pharmacist Influenza Trial webpage.

Cold chain management resources

More information

Produced by

Public Health