The Northwestern Health Unit Cold Chain Program is mandated by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC). Proper vaccine storage and handling ensures safe and effective vaccines are delivered to the public.
The "cold chain" refers to a product being kept within a defined temperature range from the time it is manufactured until the time it is injected into a person. Since vaccines are used to prevent illness, it is vital that all quality control measures are tracked to be sure it will work as intended. Every vaccine has limited amount of time that it can be outside of the 2 - 8°C range, so records are kept continuously on storage temperatures and any variations, which is called a "cold chain break".
All fridges storing vaccine should be maintained at a temperature between 2 - 8°C. Facilities should use a digital Min/Max thermometer to monitor fridge temperatures twice daily. It is very important to call the vaccine depot if the temperatures are outside the 2 - 8°C range. Learn how to report a vaccine storage failure or cold chain incident.
The MOHLTC Vaccine Storage and Handling Guidelines has information about recommended temperature recording devices, optimal vaccine storage and handling practices, and what to do during a power failure or cold chain incident at your facility.
Find information about the vaccine ordering schedule, how to order and transport vaccines, and what to do with expired vaccines.