Recent inspections of refrigerators in health care provider premises have shown that improper storage of vaccines is a significant problem in Ontario. Under the authority of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, public health units must inspect storage locations of provincially funded vaccines.
The purpose of annual inspections is to:
- Ensure the proper management of vaccine inventories (store in temperatures of 2-8 degrees Celsius)
- Provide education strategies to minimize vaccine wastage
- Promote vaccine safety and effectiveness
If you are a health care provider storing provincially funded vaccines, ensure all staff familiarize themselves with proper vaccine storage and handling guidelines (PDF file)
Proper Vaccine Storage procedures
- Read, record and clear the min/max thermometer twice per day in the temperature log book.
- Post the Ministry cold chain material on the fridge door.
- Close and secure fridge door after each use.
- Place water bottles on inside of fridge door to maintain proper temperatures.
- Ensure no ice has built up in the freezer.
- Place thermometer probe in the center of the fridge in an empty vaccine box.
- Store vaccines on the middle shelf.
- Date all opened multi-dose vials.
- Protect all vaccine from light.
- Keep refrigerator plugged in at all times.
NOTE: Do not store food or specimens in the vaccine fridge.
What to Do With Spoiled or Expired Vaccines
- Report all fridge temperatures outside the 2-8 degrees Celcius range to the Health Department immediately
- Return all expired/exposed vaccine to the Health Department
- Prior to moving or changing vaccine fridges, notify the Health Department
Report a vaccine storage failure by calling 311 or fill out the applicable form below.
A parent or guardian may decide against vaccinating their child for medical or personal reasons. Choose the necessary exemption form for your patient from the list below.
Please remind patients that by law, parents wishing to exempt their children from vaccines because of personal choice, must attend an in-person education session on vaccines at the Health Department.
Updated Eligibility for Routine Vaccines
Children ages 4-6 years old who need both a second dose of MMR AND a second dose of chickenpox vaccine may receive this vaccine. (Children under 4 as well as those receiving either antigen for the 1st time should receive the antigens separately.)
In Ontario, the rotavirus vaccine is publicly funded for infants 6 - 24 weeks of age. The following dosing schedule is recommended:
- First dose at 2 months of age
- Second dose 4 months of age
- Third dose at 6 months of age
All rotavirus vaccine doses should be given by 32 weeks of age.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has expanded Ontario’s Human Papillomavirus (HPV4) Immunization Program. Changes include:
- Offering HPV4 vaccine to all boys and girls in grade 7 from the 2016-17 school year and going forward.
- Ongoing eligibility for females until the end of August after grade 12
- Ongoing eligibility for males who were in grade 7 in the 2016-17 school year until the end of August after grade 12
Vaccines are offered at Halton regional immunization clinics by appointment. Patients should call 311 to schedule an appointment.
In Ontario, routine immunizations are mainly given in family doctor’s offices. However, Halton Region also offers Community Immunization Clinics for school-based immunizations.
- All vaccines in the childhood routine schedule
- Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Hib; measles, mumps and rubella; chickenpox; pneumococcal conjugate; Men C
- Tdap: All adults up to the age of 64 can receive one life-time dose.
- Eligible school-aged children who missed their school-based clinic:
- Hepatitis B
- Menactra (Meningococcal ACYW-135)
- Gardasil (HPV)
- These are all the vaccines that are included in the publicly funded schedule.
Vaccines offered for a fee:
- The Health Department does not provide these vaccines.
Reducing Vaccine Injection Pain in Children
Ordering a Vaccine
Print the Vaccine Order Form (PDF file) and fax it with a copy of your temperature log sheet to Halton's Vaccine Distribution Department.
- Allow three business days for Region pickups.
- Maintain no more than a one-month supply in your vaccine fridge at any time.
- Shipments for hospitals or private courier occur the week after receiving the request.
- Orders may be adjusted based on availability of the vaccine.
Use the Special Order Vaccine Online Request Form to request high-risk and school-based vaccines.
Reporting an Adverse Event Following Immunization
As a health care provider, the law requires you to report an adverse event following an immunization. Do your part to monitor adverse events by following these three easy steps:
- Advise patients to contact you if they experience an unwanted and unexpected health effect after receiving a vaccine.
- Report adverse events to your local public health unit. Use the Report of Adverse Event Following Immunization Reporting Form. (external PDF)
- If you have questions, contact your local public health unit.
Once you have completed the reporting form, fax it to 905-825-8797.