Logistics and Cold Chain Management


The handling of influenza vaccine does not differ from handling of other vaccines used in the cold chain.

The influenza vaccine must be kept between +2 and +8 °C. Compared with the use of most other routine vaccines, influenza vaccine use is typically limited to few months before and during the circulation of the influenza virus. All levels of the immunization programme should therefore have adequate and functioning storage and transport capacity for the additional influenza vaccine volume, and capacity to manage a vaccine that would have to be replaced at least annually.

Accurate data will be needed to assess expected coverage, wastage and storage volume. The Vaccine management handbook, a component of the EVM Initiative, provides planners of vaccine introduction at national and subnational levels with technical advice on immunization logistics. Given the price of influenza vaccine, the annual need to update the vaccine, and the limited period of use, poorly managed logistics systems can lead to interrupted vaccination activities, non-availability of immunization-related supplies and overstocking of influenza vaccine, which can result in significant operational programme costs. Logistics management information system (LMIS) data should be regularly assessed to ensure adequate vaccine wastage rates, stock and waste management. Including influenza vaccine in the country’s LMIS requires updating vaccine order forms, vaccine and injection equipment stock records, wastage reports, and its inclusion in temperature monitoring and alarm systems.

To manage the annual switch from the influenza vaccine formulation currently in use to the new vaccine formulation for the next season, a national influenza vaccine switch plan should be developed through close collaboration between policy-makers, EPI, and RMNCAH programme managers and logisticians. This plan should set the dates for the vaccine switch and should define the management structures necessary to align supply, communications, logistics, process monitoring and reporting. For further information, see WHO’s Guidelines for developing National Operational Plans for the Switch from tOPV to bOPV in Toolbox.


WHO’s Switch from tOPV to bOPV: guidelines for developing national operational plans provide information on how to establish management structures and plan and implement a vaccine switch. The guidelines can be used as blueprint for the development of an influenza switch plan.

Tools supporting effective vaccine management (EVM):

Compilation of cold chain and logistics tools (supply chain sizing tool, logistics forecasting tool, vaccine volume calculator and user guide, cold chain inventory tool).

Guidance specific to cold chain:


Logistics management information system (LMIS) data should be regularly assessed for which of the following purposes.

A. To ensure adequate vaccine wastage rates, stock and waste management.
B. To provide crude measures of vaccine coverage.
C. To estimate needed resources.
D. To project future logistical needs.


Answer A is correct.