Key messages

  • Some vaccines lose potency and effectiveness if they are exposed to light.
  • Check the Product Information for light sensitivity.
  • Store vaccines in their original packaging to protect them from light.
  • Use the Cold Chain Breach Report form to report a light exposure breach.

Some vaccines lose potency and effectiveness if they are exposed to sunlight, ultraviolet (UV) or fluorescent light.

Protect light-sensitive vaccines from light at all times during storage until the vaccines are administered.

Light-sensitive vaccines – product Information

The ‘Storage conditions’ section in the Product Information tells you if the vaccine should be protected from light. In addition to BCG and Tubersol, light-sensitive vaccines on the National Immunisation Program schedule are:

  • Bexsero®
  • Gardasil9®
  • Infanrix hexa®
  • Infanrix IPV®
  • M-M-R-II®
  • Nimenrix®
  • Pneumovax23®
  • Priorix®
  • Priorix-Tetra®
  • Proquad®
  • Rotarix®
  • Varivax®
  • Zostavax®.

The 2020 influenza vaccines are: Afluria Quad®, Fluad Quad®, Fluarix Tetra® & Vaxigrip Tetra® 

Vaccine information

Light-sensitive vaccines – storage

Store all vaccines in their packaging to protect against:

  • exposure to sunlight and UV light
  • temperature fluctuations
  • possible breach of sterility
  • tampering
  • vaccine administration error.

Purpose-built vaccine fridges with a glass door increase the risk of light exposure if the vaccines are removed from their original packaging.

Vaccine fridges must have adequate capacity to store 1 month’s supply of vaccine stock in its original packaging. Consider the volume of vaccines you store during peak times, such as influenza season – you may require more than one vaccine fridge.

Outreach immunisation sessions – storage

Portable coolers should have adequate capacity to transport vaccines in their original packaging.

For mass vaccination, such as school-based programs, unpack enough vaccine to be used on the day. Store the vaccine in opaque containers before it is administered.

Light-exposure breach reporting

Use the Cold chain breach report form to report light exposure breaches for light-sensitive vaccines. Send the form to the department as soon as possible by email or fax.

Do not use or discard vaccine until you have received advice from the department about the breach. Label the vaccine ‘Do not use’ and isolate it from other vaccines.

Contact details