The central pharmacy maintains an inventory of vaccines and biological products sufficient to meet routine and most emergency needs (unless manufacturers are unable to supply their products in a timely manner). Vaccines and biological products are ordered through the WebVision vaccine ordering system. Instructions for accessing and using this system can be obtained by contacting the Office of Information Management.
Vaccine orders are normally shipped to health departments on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. When there are immediate needs, other shipping arrangements can be made. Thursday shipments require special Next Day handing which increases the local health department's shipping charges. Friday shipments require that the "ship to" address be located in an area that has Saturday Delivery available, and someone must be available to receive and sign for the package when it arrives. Saturday delivery results in an additional charge being added to the Next Day special handling charge.
A priced record of the items being shipped is included with each shipment.
Pharmacy personnel should be contacted by telephone when a vaccine order is placed on the WebVision system and there is an emergency need for a particular item. This will alert personnel to make certain that the order receives special handling and that it is shipped to arrive when needed. If pharmacy personnel who routinely handle vaccine orders are not available (i.e. - late in the afternoon) the caller may be requested to provide a verbal or faxed order that will be processed without using the WebVision system. The health department upon receiving the order would enter the item(s) into their WebVision inventory as a non-pharmacy receipt.
Vaccines and biological products are shipped in insulated containers using cold packs to protect stability. These containers will normally protect products over a two day shipping period. When there are questions concerning shipping conditions or product stability, central pharmacy personnel should be contacted. Products should be stored under recommended storage conditions while questions concerning product stability/integrity are being answered.
Included within each insulated shipping container is a preaddressed return label that enables the health department to return the empty container to Central Services at no charge. Only those insulated shipping containers that appear to be in good condition should be returned.
All outdated vaccines and biological products in manufacturers' unopened containers should be returned to the central pharmacy. Credit will be issued whenever possible.