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Immunization Information for Medical Providers

Are your vaccines protecting your patients?

Vaccines may be among the most powerful tools available to prevent communicable diseases, but improper storage and handling techniques can render them ineffective. Follow these recommendations to keep your vaccines safe and viable.

  • Maintain proper temperatures. Always keep refrigerator temperatures between 35°F and 46°F (2°C to 8°C), and freezer temperatures at 5°F (-15°C) or lower.
  • Use the right kind of vaccine storage unit. Avoid using dormitory or bar style units, which cannot be relied upon to maintain even temperatures.
  • Use a digital thermometer and check temperatures twice daily. Make sure your thermometer is accurate to +/- 1°F, has a biosafe, glycol-encased probe, a MIN/MAX setting, and an alarm that sounds when the storage unit temperature goes out of range. Calibrate your thermometer annually (or by the date recommended by the manufacturer).
  • Position vaccines properly in the storage unit. Never store vaccines in the door, drawers, or bins. Instead, store them in porous containers 2-3 inches from walls, air vents, and floors to allow for air circulation. Keep them in original packaging until administered. Never store food or beverages in the same unit. Though not preferable, if medications and other biologics must be stored in the same unit, they should be kept on a lower shelf to avoid contamination if a spill were to occur. 
  • In the event of a temperature excursion, immediately take action. If your storage unit has a  mechanical problem, fix it as quickly as possible and consider moving vaccines to a temperature-stable unit if necessary. If a power failure occurs, move vaccines to a temperature-stable unit until power is restored. If the back-up unit is inaccessible or also experiencing a power outage, do not remove your vaccines from their primary unit and keep the unit door closed. Call the vaccine manufacturers to verify that the vaccines are still viable.
  • Follow these guidelines for safely transporting refrigerated and frozen vaccines.

For more in-depth vaccine storage and handling recommendations, review these helpful resources:

 

California School Immunization Law

Childhood Vaccines

Routine primary childhood vaccines are administered at 2, 4, 6, 12 and 15 months of age.   For children who begin their immunizations late, follow minimum intervals for vaccination to bring them up-to-date in a timely manner. All providers should understand true vaccine contraindications to avoid missed immunization opportunities.

 

 

Adolescent Vaccines

  • Adolescent Immunization Schedule
  • CDC recommends that children ages 11-12, be immunized with the meningococcal conjugate vaccine. They recommend vaccination for the next 2-3 years for teens entering high school as well as college freshmen who will be living in dormitories.
  • As of July 1, 2011, California law requires all students entering 7th grade to show proof of a pertussis (whooping cough) booster shot, known as Tdap before starting school. Other vaccines may also be generally indicated for some adolescents.

  • Beginning on January 1, 2012, a new California law (known as AB 499) expands the legal authority of minors 12 years and older to consent to confidential medical services for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) without their parents' consent. Click here to download the fact sheet for more information.

 

Adult Vaccines

 

Rules and Regulations

  • Vaccine information statements (VIS) are required to be given to a patient or guardian prior to the administration of any vaccine. Individuals should be given time to read the statement and ask questions as needed. Multiple language versions are available for most vaccines.
  • Reporting is required for certain events following vaccine administration. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, VAERS, requests suspected adverse event/reaction be reported to 1(800) 822-7967.
  • Beginning on January 1, 2012, a new California law (known as AB 499) expands the legal authority of minors 12 years and older to consent to confidential medical services for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) without their parents' consent. Click here to download the fact sheet for more information

 

School and Childcare Laws

California school and childcare rules and regulations govern admittance into childcare and kindergarten.

 

The new immunization law requires all students entering into 7th grade to show proof of a pertussis (whooping cough) booster shot, known as Tdap before the start of school each Fall. 


These requirements apply to millions of students in California. Please utilize every opportunity to provide a Tdap booster shot to adolescents and adults (7 years and older) who haven't yet received it. Updates on implementing this new law and information on pertussis are posted at http://shotsforschool.org/laws/


The California Immunization Registry, also known as CAIR is directly accessed by many schools to check student immunization records. We encourage you to join CAIR to help meet the new Tdap booster shot requirement.

 

 

Vaccine Materials

 

Useful Vaccine Links

 

Please call the San Francisco Department of Public Health Communicable Disease Prevention Unit with any questions. Call (415) 554-2955.

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