Vaccine storage

Vaccines MUST be stored between +2°C and +8°C. They can be destroyed if they are stored outside +2°C and +8°C or exposed to light.

Read the National Vaccine Storage Guidelines: Strive for 5 to ensure you understand the requirements for adequate vaccine management and storage.

Those responsible for vaccines ordering and receiving vaccine deliveries must know the processes.

Receiving vaccine deliveries

  • accept and sign for the vaccines from the courier
  • if transported by esky/cooler, check all cold chain monitors. If a monitor is activated contact Vaccine Distribution Centre on (08) 7425 7139 immediately
  • promptly transfer vaccines to a monitored vaccine fridge, Do NOT remove vaccines from their original packaging
  • check expiry dates and ensure vaccines with the shortest dates are placed at the front to be used first
  • read and record fridge temperature.

Responding to a Cold chain breach

A 'cold chain breach' occurs when vaccines are stored outside of +2°C to +8°C. This excludes excursions up to +12°C, lasting no longer than 15 minutes.

  1. Isolate vaccines and place a ‘DO NOT USE VACCINES’ sign on the fridge. Communicate this to all staff.
  2. Keep vaccines stored between +2ºC and +8ºC. Do NOT discard any vaccines.
  3. Contact SA Health's Immunisation Section on 1300 232 272 during business hours. Do not contact this number after hours or on public holidays as it is redirected to CDCB on call doctor. They are on call for urgent matters only.
  4. Document all action taken on the back of the fridge temperature chart.

In the event of widespread power outages, complete and email the Cold Chain Breach Report-SA Health (PDF 484KB) when directed by the Immunisation Section.

Event of power failure

Activate your back up plan. Cold Chain Back-up Plan (PDF 178KB).

Vaccine storage self-audit

A vaccine storage self-audit must be carried out at least once every 12 months. Self-auditing is an important part of quality assurance and risk management processes.

A vaccine storage self-audit checklist is available in Appendix 2 of the National Vaccine Storage Guidelines: Strive for 5.

The SA Health Immunisation Section also conducts random vaccine storage audits.

Further information

For further information contact the Vaccine Distribution Centre on (08) 7425 7139.