COVID-19 - Get vaccinated and find public health advice for residents.

Cold Chain Procedures During a Power Failure

When storing COVID-19 vaccine, immediately contact Public Health in the event of a power failure or other emergency. Do not transport or use the vaccine. Leave the vaccine in the fridge and continue to record temperatures.

Steps during power failure

  1. Notify the Vaccine Preventable Disease program at Public Health
  2. Leave vaccine in the fridge if temperature remains between +2.0 C and + 8.0 C
  3. In the temperature log book, record the temperatures (current / minimum / maximum) and time as soon as possible after the start of the power failure, and clear the thermometer (minimum / maximum temperature readings)
  4. Prepare transport cooler with frozen ice packs, fridge blankets and digital transport min/max thermometer
  5. Select Option 1 or Option 2 if power failure continues and / or fridge temperatures are climbing


Call the Vaccine Preventable Disease program at 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074 ext. 7396, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., except statutory holidays.

  • To report a current or recent power failure
  • To report if the office is going to experience a planned power failure
  • To report any fridge temperatures outside the +2.0 C to +8.0 C range
  • To obtain more information on cold chain procedures

Option 1: Transfer vaccine to a functioning and monitored fridge that is between +2.0 C and +8.0 C and has power or a back-up generator

  • Pharmacies cannot temporarily store vaccine for other health care providers
  • Use prepared transport cooler with the digital transport min / max thermometer and complete a temperature log sheet when transferring vaccine or for temporary storage during power failure
  • Before removing vaccine from your fridge, ensure fridge temperatures (current / minimum / maximum) are recorded, with times included
  • Ensure transport cooler is between +2.0 C and +8.0 C and that thermometer temperatures (minimum / maximum) are cleared before storing vaccine
  • When packing vaccine into cooler, prevent ice packs from touching the vaccines. Ensure the thermometer device is located outside the cooler for frequent monitoring with the probe packed in the middle of the cooler.
  • Record the transport temperatures (current / minimum / maximum) once vaccine is placed in cooler, during transport and upon arrival at temporary storage location
  • Clear minimum and maximum thermometer temperatures after each recording
  • Keep digital transport min / max thermometer with vaccine at all times

During normal business hours, you may bring vaccine to Public Health (Thorold location only) for temporary storage.

Option 2: Keep vaccine in existing fridge if unable to transfer as per Option 1

  • Place ice packs inside the fridge (and away from the vaccine) to help maintain the correct fridge temperature
  • Avoid frequent door openings. Opening the door will let cool air out of the fridge.
  • Try to keep the room temperature in the office low. For example, close window blinds.
  • Continue to monitor and record fridge temperatures (current / minimum / maximum) at least twice daily (morning and afternoon / evening)
    • Additionally, for every troubleshooting action, record temperatures (current / minimum / maximum), with times included. Clear minimum and maximum thermometer temperatures after each recording.
    • Document time and temperatures when the fridge went above +8.0 C and when leaving the office

Digital fridge min / max thermometers should always be visible from the outside of the fridge. The probe / glycol bottle should be located in the center of the middle shelf, inside the fridge. You should not have to open the fridge door to take the temperature readings.

Clear the thermometer after each recording. Never clear thermometer temperatures before recording.

When the power returns

  1. Record the time and temperatures (current / minimum / maximum) in the fridge when the power returns and clear the thermometer. Once the current temperature is between +2.0 C and +8.0 C, document recordings and clear the thermometer again.
  2. Continue to keep vaccine in a monitored fridge
  3. Call the Vaccine Preventable Disease program at Public Health for direction on vaccine stability. Do not administer any vaccines and do not assume vaccine is automatically wasted.
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