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Loss of Vaccines – Prevention and what to do in order to claim

Written by MIAB’s Claims Handler

A loss of vaccines is potentially a major problem for a GP practice – not only is significant time used to resolve the issue, but the average cost to a practice is £1,030, according to MIAB’s internal data.

In the unfortunate event of a claim for loss of vaccines, there are a number of factors the insurer may take into account when reviewing the case, which are useful indicators of good practice when managing vaccines.

For example, insurers may wish to assess the monitoring of the cold chain. This is a vital part of ensuring the vaccines are transported and stored according to the manufacturer’s temperature recommendations, and failure to do these checks may result in a claim being declined.

It is also good practice to monitor the temperature of the fridge and record it on a log, as the insurer may request to see a copy of this to confirm the reason behind the loss of vaccines.

Insurers may want to see a maintenance report to ensure the fridges have been kept in a good working condition. Here at MIAB we ask that the practice has an annual maintenance agreement in place for refrigerated units that are more than, or understood to be more than, seven years old. However, it is always beneficial to have planned maintenance on all fridges, whatever their age.

Arrangements should also be in place for back-up facilities in the event of the refrigerator failing or breaking down.

What to do in the event of a fridge failure

  • Keep the fridge door closed until an assessment of the situation has been undertaken
  • Assess the incident – try to establish the cause (eg. power loss or the fridge door left open)
  • Contact the suppliers of the vaccines for advice before destroying the vaccines as some may still be usable
  • Store all vaccines affected by the incident separately from the unaffected vaccines
  • Record all details of the incident
  • Contact MIAB to request a claim form and vaccine calculator
  • Finally, safely dispose of the vaccines, as appropriate, according to local protocol

What documentation is required when claiming?

  • Fully completed claim form and vaccine calculator
  • Temperature log for the fridge
  • Original invoices for the vaccines
  • A copy of the annual maintenance report
  • Engineer report confirming cause of loss with recommendations for repair/replacement, if claiming for loss of the fridge
  • Quotes/invoices for a new fridge, if applicable
  • A letter from the electricity company with an incident number if the issue was caused by a power loss

If you require any further information or help, please do not hesitate to contact our claims department on 01438 730214 or email Caroline McShane, MIAB’s Claims Handling Support.