Vaccine Storage and Handling

Communicable Disease Control

Vaccines are sensitive biological products that may become less effective or destroyed when exposed to temperatures outside the recommended range or inappropriately exposed to light.

These policies as well as the Alberta Health Services (AHS) Vaccine Storage and Handling Standard set out requirements and provide direction to AHS Public Health, AHS non-Public Health and community providers to ensure:

  • Vaccine efficacy and safety is protected, ensuring a safe and potent vaccine is administered
  • Vaccine providers are knowledgeable regarding vaccine storage, handling and timely reporting of cold chain excursions


This is a reminder to all vaccine providers involved in the provincially funded immunization program. All vaccine storage and handling requirements outlined in the Alberta Health Vaccine Cold Chain Policy must be met in order to receive provincially funded vaccine. If you have questions about equipment required for vaccine storage and handling please follow up with your Zone Contact.

The following resources have been developed to outline the requirements for storage and handling of provincially funded vaccine within Alberta.

Vaccine Storage & Handling Documents
Education and Training Resources
  • E-Learning Vaccine Storage and Handling Course - the E-Learning training provides information on vaccine storage and handling practices, highlights the importance of Cold Chain and implications of Cold Chain Excursion incidents. This module will support individuals who store, handle and/or administer provincially funded vaccines.
  • Detailed course information and registration will be available through MyLearningLink (on AHS intranet) for AHS employees or ABSORB for vaccine providers outside of AHS
Cold Chain Excursion Reporting

What is a Cold Chain Excursion?
A cold chain excursion occurs when vaccine is exposed to light or to temperatures outside the recommended range. A cold chain excursion can reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine leading to lower than expected levels of immune stimulation.

When do you Report a Cold Chain Excursion?
A cold chain excursion is reported when vaccines have been exposed to light or when vaccine is exposed to temperatures outside of the recommended range of +2˚C to +8˚C.

Who Needs to Report a Cold Chain Excursion?
All vaccine providers must report temperature excursions below +2°C or above +8° C or light exposures to their Zone Contact by using the reporting process outlined below.

Cold Chain Excursion Reporting Process:
Use the algorithm found in the link below and complete the cold chain excursion reporting form also found in the link below and submit your report to your appropriate Zone Contact.

All non-AHS immunizing Community Providers, including Alberta Pharmacists, must report cold chain excursions as outlined in the Alberta vaccine storage and handling policy for provincially funded vaccine: Alberta vaccine storage and handling policy for provincially funded vaccine - Open Government

Zone Contacts

Find my Zone

North Zone
Vaccine Depot Monitor
Fax: 1-780-532-1550
Phone: 1-780-513-7568

Edmonton Zone
Edmonton Central Immunization Team
Fax: 1-780-342-0248
Phone: 1-855-444-2324

Central Zone
Cold Chain Excursion Intake
Fax: 780-679-2766
Phone: 780-679-2966

Calgary Zone
Calgary Communicable Disease Control Unit
Fax: 403-955-6755
Phone: 1-855-444-2324

South Zone
South Zone Clinical Support Team
Phone: 403-388-6684
Fax 403-380-2893