Community vaccine provider resources

This page was developed with key resources necessary for the immunization program, including vaccine management.

Vancouver Coastal Health is committed to achieving the highest standards in immunization practice.

Vaccine providers that administer publicly funded vaccines have a responsibility to make sure all of their staff is familiar with this information. Please share this information with staff who will be immunizing or involved in vaccine management.

VCH community vaccine provider registration

If you are a new clinic, you can reach out to the Regional office to determine if your office is registered as a community vaccine provider (CVP). Please contact the Regional office at 604-675-3900.

The Regional office will review the registration process with you and fax a registration form for completion. Upon registration, your site will receive a CVP ordering form that is unique to you for identification purposes and to ensure that there is no duplication in ordering.

You will only be able to order from the local community health centre (CHC) that you are registered with.

Vaccine ordering

Community vaccine providers (CVPs) can receive a vaccine ordering form that is unique to their site from their local community health centre (CHC). Sites will be able to save an electronic version of this form to their computer. The ordering office will be required to have an email address in order to receive the order sheet and to receive notifications regarding routine vaccines.

To assist Public Health with managing vaccine inventory, we recommend that you order vaccines based on the volume of vaccine administered in your office. Please also ensure that all client’s being immunized meet the publicly funded criteria as indicated in each individual biological product page in the BCCDC Immunization Manual.

While Public Health will try to accommodate your order as much as possible, please note that the amount of doses requested is not guaranteed as there are times when the available stock may be limited.

Please refer to your unique CVP ordering form for specific fulfillment and pick up times.

Frequency of ordering

It is recommended that sites carry only one month’s supply of vaccine.

Please ensure that you provide a minimum of two business days when ordering vaccine, as it may take time for your local Public Health unit to procure and prepare your vaccines (some exceptions may apply; please refer to your unique CVP order form).

Picking up and transporting vaccines

To ensure vaccine stability is maintained, the appropriate equipment is necessary when transporting vaccines. Ensure you arrive with the appropriate cooler and materials for vaccine pick up as public health is unable to provide these to our immunizing partners.

Insulated containers:

  • Large enough to store vaccines, ice/gel packs, and insulating materials during transport.
  • External surface material is strong and durable; must be a hard-sided insulated container.
  • Lid is tight-fitting.

Insulated materials:

  • Used as a barrier to prevent direct contact between vaccines and frozen ice packs.
  • Flexible insulating blankets and gel packs at refrigerator temperatures (+2C to +8C).
  • Note: A layer of paper towel is not sufficient as a barrier to protect vaccines from contact with frozen material.
Diagram describing ideal store to maintain vaccine cold chain

Vaccine transport - trips under 1 hour

Maintaining vaccine cold chain (between 2 - 8*C)

Download guide

Vaccine storage and monitoring

Vaccines may be inactivated by exposure to excess light, heat or freezing, depending on the nature of the product, the temperature reached and the duration of exposure. Any loss of vaccine potency is permanent and irreversible which would result in lower level of protection against disease. By maintaining optimal temperatures while transporting, storing and handling vaccines you:

  • Ensure the best quality vaccine for your clients.
  • Assist in preventing vaccine wastage.

What can you do to decrease vaccine wastage?

  • ​Encourage all staff to:
  • Designate one staff member (and a backup) to be responsible for vaccine management
  • Monitor vaccine refrigerators with maximum-minimum thermometers
  • Check and record refrigerator temperatures (current, minimum, and maximum temperatures) twice daily. Refer to the VCH refrigerator temperature form for instructions.
  • Store vaccines with the shortest expiry date at the front of the fridge so they are used first (first to expire, first out)
  • Never store vaccine on fridge door shelves due to temperature fluctuations
  • If the vaccine is involved in a cold chain incident/break (e.g. power failure) quarantine the vaccine in the refrigerator, immediately contact your local health unit via phone and complete the Cold Chain Incident Form.

BCCDC resources

  • Schedules
  • Records
  • MSP billing codes
  • Injection sites/routs
  • Reducing immunization pain
  • Forms and letters
  • Education videos

immunization clinical resources on

Refrigerators - do's and don'ts

  • Refrigerators should be vaccine only: No food or beverages allowed
  • “First to expire, first out.” Rotate vaccine stock so that the vaccine expiring is always at the front
  • Use these vaccines as soon as possible
  • Refrigerator should be in a well-ventilated area - away from walls or other structures
  • Ensure area around the refrigerator is clean and free of dust
  • Keep refrigerator out of direct sunlight
  • Connect the refrigerator to a dedicated electrical circuit
  • DO NOT store vaccine on the door shelves
Diagram showing proper vaccine refridgerator usage

Vaccine refrigerator

Reference: National Vaccine Storage and Handling Guidelines for Immunization Providers 2007

Download the guide

Vaccine reporting

Vancouver Coastal Health maintains an up-to-date immunization registry for all immunizations provided to children <18 years of age as well as adults. This immunization information is then updated in the provincial immunization registry.

This enables a real-time view of the immunization status of residents in Vancouver Coastal and allows for comprehensive reporting as required by the Ministry of Health.

VCH currently does not have access to immunizations given by community vaccine providers (i.e. physicians, nurse practitioners, midwives, pharmacists). Please complete the immunization report form on all immunized clients under the age of 19 years old.

Immunization report form

Please ensure all fields are completed.

Fax the Immunization report form to your local community health centre on a weekly basis.

Vaccine return

Vaccine return form

To assist in managing the vaccine supply more efficiently and to monitor vaccine wastage, Public Health requests that a vaccine ordered through Public Health cannot be used for any reason be returned to the health unit. The reasons may include:

  • Surplus / over-ordered.
  • Cold chain incident (CCI). Before returning any vaccine in the event of a cold chain incident, call your local health unit to assess if the vaccine can or cannot be used. In some circumstances, vaccines may still be used. Please see the section below on CCIs.
  • Recall.
  • Expired product.
    • Remove the vaccine from the fridge immediately to avoid accidental use.

In the event that you need to return a publicly funded vaccine, please complete the Vaccine Return Form and return it to the health unit with the vaccine. Do not discard unused or expired vaccines.

  • If you ordered vaccines from BCCDC, follow your usual return process directly with BCCDC.

Cold chain incident (CCI) resources

For all cold chain incidents (CCIs), please contact your local health unit immediately.

Publicly-funded vaccines available for pharmacists

Orders for vaccines under the “case-by-case requests” section of the “Criteria for Pharmacist Access to Publicly Funded Vaccines” document will be provided as outlined in this criteria.