Power failure alert - important information about your vaccine refrigerator

Dear Practice,

We are aware that there are widespread power outages across Sydney on 31 January Impacted areas include parts of Randwick, Bondi Junction, Bondi, Kensington, Waverley, Double Bay, Woollahra, Bronte, Bellevue Hill, Clovelly, Coogee, Rose Bay and surrounding areas.

Please ensure you have checked your vaccine fridge to ensure the temperature remained within range during this time. For practices who are closed today, this should be identified when the twice daily temperature check is performed on your fridge on the morning of your first day reopened following the power outage. Practices should immediately quarantine the vaccines and downloaded the data from your data logger to identify the extent of the cold chain breach.

If your vaccine fridge went above 8oC for longer than 15 minutes, contact your local Public Health Unit (PHU) immediately and DO NOT use the vaccines until you receive advice further instruction from them.

If you were present in the surgery when the power outage occurred the fridge temperature should have been closely monitored and if it began to rise, you must engage your vaccine storage management plan during power failure, utilising eskies, ice packs, bubble wrap and a min max thermometer to salvage vaccines as per the Strive for 5 vaccine back up storage guidelines. The temperature of the esky(s) should have been monitored using a digital min/max thermometer with a probe to ensure the vaccines remained between 2 oC and 8oC. Please contact the PHU if the temperature went outside of this range.

Contacting the Public Health Unit (PHU)

If you need to contact the PHU – please ensure you have downloaded the data from your data logger for this time period before contacting the PHU as they will ask for this information to review. You will also be asked to provide the PHU with a list of all vaccines that were in the fridge at the time of the breach.

South Eastern Sydney Public Health Unit

Data Loggers

In addition to recording the min/max temperature of your fridge twice a day, from November 2015, the Ministry of Health require all practices with a vaccine account to have a data logger placed in any vaccine fridge (domestic or purpose built) and download the data weekly. Data loggers will provide critical information to the PHU and Ministry of Health to assist to determine the length of time in which a breach has occurred, the extent of the breach and can minimise wastage. For more information on data loggers, please view our data logger information sheet.

If you need further assistance, advice or resources on general cold chain management, please contact the Immunisation team on immunisation@cesphn.com.au or 1300 986 991.

Kind regards,

CESPHN's Immunisation team