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National Vaccine Storage Guidelines ‘Strive for 5’ 3rd edition

The Department of Health developed the National Vaccine Storage Guidelines ‘Strive for 5’ 3rd edition as part of the National Immunisation Program. Updated in April 2020, 3rd edition provides information and advice for vaccine storage management for Australian immunisation service providers, from medical practices to large hospitals, clinics and outreach providers.

Correct vaccine storage and handling has been an important factor in preventing and eradicating many common vaccine-preventable diseases. A failure to store and handle vaccines properly can reduce vaccine potency, resulting in inadequate immune responses in clients and poor protection against disease.

The title, ‘Strive for 5’, refers to practices to strive for 5 degrees Celsius (°c) — midway between +2°c and +8°c, the temperature range recommended for vaccine storage within the 3rd edition. Many vaccines are damaged or destroyed at temperatures outside this range.

These guidelines describe the best approach to ensure that clients receive effective and potent vaccines and the ‘cold chain’ and provide advice on what should be done in the event of a cold chain breach. They apply to vaccines stored in purpose-built vaccine refrigerators.

Implementing the requirements of the 3rd edition will ensure your practice is maintaining compliance with the RACGP Standards 5th edition – Criterion GP6.1 – Maintaining vaccine potency.

Download your copy of the National Vaccine Storage Guidelines – ‘Strive for 5’ 3rd edition from the Department of Health website here.


  • The Department of Health has created resources including checklists, charts, posters and stickers, and
  • AGPAL has compiled a comprehensive list to assist you in identifying the variations between the 2nd and 3rd editions. We recommend that you use this list to compare your current vaccine storage procedures to the new edition.
    • Log in to your accreditation hub and click on the ‘EDUCATION & RESOURCES’ tab to access a PDF copy of this comparison.