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North Carolina Immunization Branch

North Carolina Immunization Program (NCIP) Requirements

Storage and Handling

***Please call the NCIP at 877-873-6247 to report any out of range temperatures***

Impact of Power Outages on Vaccine Storage

In areas where vaccine supplies are affected by temporary power outages, this guidance may be helpful:

  • Take immediate action to correct improper vaccine storage conditions, including inappropriate exposure to light and inappropriate exposure to storage temperatures outside the recommended ranges. Isolate the affected vaccine, mark them "DO NOT USE", and store under appropriate conditions in a properly functioning vaccine storage unit. Do not allow the vaccine to remain in a nonfunctioning unit. Document actions taken on the temperature log. Call the NCIP at 877-873-6247 to report any out of range temperatures.
  • Monitor temperatures; don't discard; don't administer affected vaccines until you have discussed with North Carolina Immunization Program.

If the power outage is ongoing:

  1. Continue to monitor temperatures if possible. Do not open units to check temperatures during the power outage. Instead, record the temperature as soon as possible after the power is restored, and the duration of the outage. This will provide data on the maximum temperature and maximum duration of exposures to elevated temperatures.
  2. If alternative storage with reliable power sources are available (i.e., hospital with generator power), transferring vaccines to that facility should be considered. Be sure to transport the vaccines following proper cold chain procedures for storage and handling. When packing for transport, you must include a temperature-monitoring device to monitor the temperature of the vaccines during transport.

When power has been restored:

  1. Record the temperature in the unit as soon as possible after power has been restored. Continue to monitor the temperatures until they reach the normal 2 to 8 degrees Celsius range in the refrigerator, or -15 to -50 degrees Celsius range in the freezer. Be sure to record the duration of increased temperature exposure and the maximum temperature observed.
  2. Do not administer the vaccine until you have consulted the Immunization Program at 877-873-6247.
  3. Keep exposed vaccine separated from any new product you receive and continue to store at the proper temperature.
  4. Do not discard any potentially exposed vaccine. We will be working with the vaccine manufacturers to determine which vaccines may be viable.

Use these resources to properly store and handle state-supplied vaccine:

Vaccine Management Plans and Best Practices

Temperature Monitoring Tools