Excursions and Returns

All vaccine returns must be returned by the Public Health delivery service. Returns to a Public Health office are not available as all offices are closed to the public due to COVID-19. All returns must be accompanied by a vaccine return form.

How to Monitor the Vaccine Fridge Temperature

  • Record minimum, maximum and current temperatures twice daily of the refrigerator used for vaccine storage during all days the office is open
  • If your office is closed, arrange for a staff member to record fridge temperatures at least weekly, but preferably every 72 hours
  • Consider purchasing a data logger as a back up to your digital thermometer in the event of a thermometer malfunction or power outage. The digital min / max thermometer is your main temperature monitoring device even with a data logger in place. Continue to document the temperature readings from the digital min / max thermometer in the temperature logbook.
  • Set the data logger to record temperatures every five to 10 minutes, but no longer than every 30 minutes provided it doesn't overwrite readings prior to download. This recording frequency is most beneficial when determining vaccine stability after a temperature excursion.
  • Download the data logger weekly. Record the temperature readings from the digital min / max thermometer at this time in the temperature logbook.
  • Indicate any closure dates in the temperature logbook
  • Promptly report any out of range temperatures to Public Health so that vaccine stability can be determined

Handling a Cold Chain Excursion

A cold chain excursion occurs when vaccine is exposed to a temperature outside the required temperature range of +2.0 °C to +8.0 °C for any period of time and the potency of the vaccine is potentially compromised.

Reporting an Excursion

Step 1. Contact Public Health immediately to report out-of-range temperatures and receive further instructions: 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074 ext. 7396.

Step 2. Stop using the vaccine until further notice and keep it in a fridge or cooler that is between +2.0 °C to +8.0 °C.

Step 3. Complete the Vaccine Inventory and Return Form.

Step 4. Fax the form accompanied by a copy of the current four week temperature log, including the times of the recordings (continue recording temperatures) to 905-688-4667.

Step 5. Bag and label the vaccine "DO NOT USE". Keep the labelled bag in the fridge or cooler that is between +2.0 °C to +8.0 °C.

Step 6. Do not assume the vaccine is no longer stable and can't be used. Wait to hear back from Public Health. Public Health will determine vaccine stability and then notify the facility on what vaccine can continue to be used and what vaccine must be returned.

Returning Vaccine to Public Health

All unused seasonal influenza vaccines need to be returned to Public Health by the end of each flu season.

Vaccines also need to be returned when:

  • The vaccine has expired
  • There has been a cold chain excursion and the vaccine is no longer stable to use as determined by Public Health

Do you have stable vaccines that haven't expired that you no longer want?

Keep it in your inventory until the expiry date. Public Health cannot take it back as we're unable to use or redistribute excess vaccine.

How to Return Vaccine

Step 1. Complete the appropriate boxes on the Vaccine Inventory and Return Form.

Step 2. Place vaccine in an empty bag.

Step 3. Attach the completed form to the bag (or place inside) and close securely.

Step 4. Write "Vaccine Return" and the facility’s name on the outside of the bag.

Step 5. Return the vaccine to Public Health via the delivery service or drop off at a Public Health office.

More Information

Refer to the Ministry of Health's Vaccine Storage and Handling Guidelines.

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.

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