- Every health service should have a written vaccine cold chain protocol that includes the checklist found on this page. Health services should also conduct an annual self-audit using the National vaccine storage guidelines: Strive for 5.
Vaccine cold chain – staff knowledge
- All staff have a basic knowledge of cold chain procedures.
- New staff are educated about cold chain protocols.
- Staff can identify the people with primary and back-up responsibility for cold chain management.
- Responsibility for cold chain management is defined in the relevant staff member’s position description.
Vaccine cold chain – delivery and breach protocols
Tips to manage the cold chain:
- Order vaccine monthly and rotate vaccine stock to use the earliest expiry vaccines first.
- Refrigerate vaccine deliveries promptly and do not remove vaccines from their packaging.
- Manage cold chain breaches promptly.
- Have ice packs and an esky available in the event of a long term cold chain breach.
- Make sure the cold chain breach magnet is always on the fridge door.
Vaccine fridge requirements
Always make sure that:
- The health service has a purpose-built vaccine fridge with adequate capacity for vaccines.
- The fridge is placed against an interior wall of the building.
- The fridge has an accurate minimum and maximum temperature monitor.
- The fridge has a data logger to identify the duration of a breach, and the data are routinely downloaded and monitored every week, and as soon as possible after a temperature breach is identified.
- The front footings of the fridge are raised to tilt back and help the door to shut.
- A sign is placed above the fridge power point that reads ‘Vaccine refrigerator – do not turn off or disconnect’.
Vaccine fridge monitoring and maintenance
Make sure that:
- Fridge temperatures are recorded and reset at the start of the day, before vaccine is used, and at the end of every working day.
- Data loggers should be set to record temperatures at 5-minute intervals.
- The health service has an annual maintenance schedule for the fridge and data logger.