December 12, 2023

Cold chain reminder for the holiday period

Cold chain reminder for holiday period

Cartoon image of a man showing his arm where he received a vaccination

With the Christmas break approaching, it’s a good time to check your cold chain set up and ensure all staff are updated to safeguard your vaccines.

A team meeting is an excellent opportunity to do this so everyone in the practice knows their role – whether they be a nurse, pharmacist, doctor, health care worker, kaimahi or receptionist.

Please ensure that your cold chain management policy is up to date and the emergency plan in place in the event of a power outage or refrigerator failure. This will include checking that your back-up provider is available during this time and ensuring that your cold chain management process is clear and understood by all staff who will be working over the holiday period. This is particularly important if you have locum staff in to cover.

The minimum cold chain requirements are:

·       Your Cold Chain Management Policy is up to date and your back-up emergency refrigerator facilities are available over this period.

·       Daily minimum/maximum temperatures are checked and recorded every day your workplace is open.  Note: The data logger must be downloaded if any daily minimum/maximum temperatures are outside the required +2°C to +8°C range.

·       The data logger is downloaded once a week and the temperature information reviewed alongside the daily minimum/maximum temperatures. Appropriate action is taken if there is a significant variation between the min/ max and data logger temperatures.

·       All staff know how to download the data logger and review the information. Do not assume that everyone knows how to use the logger.

·       All staff know what actions are required and who to contact if there is a cold chain problem.


Remember, if there is a cold chain problem and your vaccines have been exposed to temperatures outside the +2°C to +8°C range, QUARANTINE THE VACCINES at +2°C to +8°C until you can get advice from your Immunisation/Cold Chain Coordinator. Do not discard any vaccines until advised to do so.

You can find contact details for Immunisation/Cold Chain Coordinators here. Generally, they will only be available on business days. If your workplace is open on statutory days, ensure a plan is in place should a cold chain problem occur.

It’s a good idea when ordering vaccines just before the Christmas/New Year break to maintain the minimum vaccine stock level to provide services over the holiday period to minimise loss of vaccine stock if problems with fridge temperatures occur.

You can find more information about cold chain on our IMAC webpage here