Cold Chain

Anyone administering or delegating/ supervising the administration of vaccines must be certain that they have not been subjected to a cold chain breach.

All providers of immunisation services should have a cold chain policy/ protocol.  As the SIT is the commissioner of these services it is not our responsibility to produce/ publish these for providers’ use, although we welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with trusts, CCGs and practices to support their development.

The policy that we initially produced as an interim measure (when commissioning was reorganised in April 2013) has expired and should no longer be used.

The following national guidance from Public Health England should be referred to, and adopted as part of any policy/ protocol:

Storage, distribution and disposal of vaccines: the green book, chapter 3

Protocol for ordering, storing and handling vaccines

Vaccine Incident Guidance Responding to errors in vaccine storage, handling and administration

The information on page 11 regarding ‘one-off’ excursions above 8+C of less than 20 minutes has appeared in print for the first time – to comply with this approach and minimise vaccine wastage practices need to install continuous data-loggers in addition to their at least once daily actual/min/max temperature recordings (not forgetting to reset!)

Also review the information on p21 about PGDs.  If a breach occurs most PGDs now include information that permits their continued use if the vaccine has been assessed as remaining effective – check the ‘Off-label’ and ‘Storage’ sections of the PGD you hope to still use.

These are the 3 key documents.  Additional guidance and supporting material are also available.

As with all national resources, please make sure that you are always using the latest version.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for advice – especially before discarding any vaccines.  View our home page where you will find our organogram – for an up to date list of contacts.