​This cold chain breach protocol outlines steps to take when managing a cold chain breach and important information to have when reporting a cold chain breach to your local public health unit. A copy of the cold chain breach protocol flowchart below can be downloaded, printed and placed on the purpose built vaccine refrigerator as a quick reference point for staff.


All immunisation providers must have an up to date cold chain protocol in place to support staff to manage a cold chain breach. Appendix 3 of the National Vaccine Storage Guidelines, Strive for 5 (current edition) also provides an example cold chain breach protocol for immunisation providers.

Cold chain breach protocol (flowchart), text description follows

Check and record vaccine fridge temperatures twice daily.

If temperatures have gone below 2 degree Celsius or above 8 degree Celsius:

  • Quarantine the vaccines in the fridge and label ‘do not use’
  • Do not discard vaccines until advice from PHU is provided
  • Ensure vaccines can continue to be stored between +2°C to +8°C. Vaccines may need to be transferred to an alternative monitored fridge or cooler
  • Notify the practice manager/principal/relevant staff member
  • Download the data logging report for the past week, including the cold chain breach
  • Review twice daily min/max temperature chart
  • Is temperature above +8°C to less than +12°C for less than 15 minutes?
    • Yes
      • Record temperatures.
      • Reset min/max thermometer
      • Wait until fridge is within +2°C to +8°C
      • No further action required
    • No​​
      • For government funded vaccines:
      • For private vaccines/medications, contact the manufacturer for advice

Current as at: Tuesday 4 June 2024
Contact page owner: Immunisation