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.
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?
- Record temperatures.
- Reset min/max thermometer
- Wait until fridge is within +2°C to +8°C
- No further action required
- For government funded vaccines:
- Report to the Public Health Unit (PHU)
Business hours: 1300 066 055
After hours: Isolate vaccines & contact PHU
next business day
- Complete and return the Cold Chain Breach Reporting Form to the PHU and await advice
- For private vaccines/medications, contact the manufacturer for advice