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Vaccine Storage and Handling

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.

September 2016 the Alberta Health Vaccine Cold Chain Policy came into effect. This policy as well as the Alberta Health Services (AHS) Vaccine Storage and Handling Standard sets out requirements and provides 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 breaks

Alert

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
Cold Chain Break Reporting

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

When do you Report a Cold Chain Break?
A cold chain break 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 Break?
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 Break Reporting Process:
Please use the algorithm found in the link below and complete the cold chain break reporting form also found in the link below and submit your report to your appropriate Zone Contact.

Alberta Pharmacists reporting cold chain breaks at their community pharmacies must report using the cold chain break reporting form found at this link with Alberta Health http://www.health.alberta.ca/professionals/immunization-policy.html

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
CDC_Immunization_Group@ahs.ca
Fax: 1-780-342-0248
Phone: 1-780-342-0219

Central Zone
Influenza Best Practice Coordinator
cz.rdvaccinedepot@ahs.ca
Fax: 1-403-356-2054
Phone: 1-403-356-6409

Calgary Zone
Calgary Communicable Disease Control Unit
CalgaryCDC@albertahealthservices.ca
Fax: 1-403-955-6755
Phone: 1-403-955-6750

South Zone
Immunization Program
Fax: 1-403-380-2893
Phone: 1-403-388-6684