Handling a Cold Chain Incident (for Health Care Professionals)

A cold chain incident occurs when vaccine is exposed to a temperature outside the required temperature range of 2 °C to 8 °C for any period of time and the potency of the vaccine is potentially compromised.

Reporting an Incident

Step 1. Contact Public Health immediately to report out-of-range temperatures and receive further instructions: 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074 ext. 7396.

Step 2. Stop using the vaccine until further notice and keep it in a fridge or cooler that is between 2°C and 8°C.

Step 3. Complete the Vaccine Inventory and Return Form.

Step 4. Fax the form accompanied by a copy of the current four week temperature log, including the times of the recordings (continue recording temperatures) to 905-688-4667.

Step 5. Bag and label the vaccine "DO NOT USE".

Step 6. Public Health will determine vaccine stability and then notify the facility on what vaccine can continue to be used and what vaccine must be returned.

How to Return the Vaccine

Vaccine should be returned to Public Health when it has expired and/or when it has been determined that it is no longer stable to use.

Step 1. Complete the appropriate boxes on the Vaccine Inventory and Return Form.

Step 2. Place vaccine in an empty bag.

Step 3. Attach the completed form to the bag (or place inside) and close securely.

Step 4. Write ‘Vaccine Return’ and the facility’s name on the outside of the bag.

Step 5. Return the vaccine to Public Health via the delivery service or drop off at a Public Health office.

More Information

Call the Vaccine Preventable Disease program at 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074 ext. 7396 (Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) for more information.

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