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8 Vaccine Wastage

Description | Specific Indicators | Corresponding Mandatory Objectives | Corresponding National Indicators | Data Sources |  Alternative Data Sources | ICD Codes | Analysis Check List | Method of Calculation |  Basic Categories | Indicator Comments | Cross-References to Other Sections | References | Acknowledgements | Changes Made
The amount of provincially funded vaccine that is wasted (spoiled, expired or unused).

Specific Indicators
  • Percent of total provincially funded vaccine wasted 
  • Percent of influenza vaccine wasted 
  • Percent of hepatitis B vaccine wasted
  • Percent of varicella vaccine wasted
  • Percent of meningococcal C-conjugate vaccine wasted
  • Percent of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine wasted
  • Percent of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine wasted
  • Percent of rabies vaccine wasted 
  • Percent of MMR vaccine wasted 
  • Percent of HPV vaccine wasted

Corresponding Outcome from the Ontario Public Health Standards (OPHS)

The Ontario Public Health Standards (OPHS) establish requirements for the fundamental public health programs and services carried out by boards of health, which include assessment and surveillance, health promotion and policy development, disease and injury prevention, and health protection. The OPHS consist of one Foundational Standard and 13 Program Standards that articulate broad societal goals that result from the activities undertaken by boards of health and many others, including community partners, non-governmental organizations, and governmental bodies. These results have been expressed in terms of two levels of outcomes: societal outcomes and board of health outcomes. Societal outcomes entail changes in health status, organizations, systems, norms, policies, environments, and practices and result from the work of many sectors of society, including boards of health, for the improvement of the overall health of the population. Board of health outcomes are the results of endeavours by boards of health and often focus on changes in awareness, knowledge, attitudes, skills, practices, environments, and policies. Boards of health are accountable for these outcomes. The standards also outline the requirements that boards of health must implement to achieve the stated results.

Link to OPHS

Outcomes Related to this Indicator

  • Societal Outcome (vaccine preventable diseases): There is reduced vaccine wastage.

Corresponding Health Indicator(s) from Statistics Canada and CIHI

  • None

Data Sources
Numerator & Denominator: Vaccine distribution counts
Original source: Public Health Unit
Distributed by: Public Health Unit
Suggested citation (see Data Citation Notes): Vaccine Distribution Data [years], Extracted: [date]

Analysis Check List

  • None

Method of Calculation

Percent of Wasted Provincially Funded Vaccine

number of doses of vaccine returned due to wastage

    x 100

total amount of vaccine distributed by the health unit

Basic Categories

  • Geographic areas: public health unit

Indicator Comments

  • This indicator does not include privately funded vaccines, e.g., vaccines for travellers and health care workers who pay for their own vaccinations.
  • Both physicians and staff in Ontario health units administer provincially funded vaccine to the public. Physicians receive provincially funded vaccines from Ontario Government Pharmacy through the health units.
  • Counts of wasted provincially-funded vaccine intended only for use by the Health Unit will be accurate, e.g., data for hepatitis B, human papillomavirus, and meningococcal C-conjugate vaccine wastage would be fairly complete because most of the vaccine is administered by the health unit.
  • Counts of wasted provincially-funded vaccine intended only for use by the physician will be undercounted as not all physicians return vaccine that has expired or is no longer good.
  • Data quality will vary by health unit.
  • Determining vaccine wastage for Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio, and Pertussis may be difficult because it is administered through a number of different vaccine combinations.


  • Provincially funded vaccine – any vaccine that is funded 100% by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Cross-References to Other Sections

  • None


  • Mai, V. Vaccine Utilization and Preferences of Ontario Family Physicians and Pediatricians. PHERO 8(5):118-21.
  • Deasy T. Upgrading Cold Chain Equipment in Ontario Health Departments: An Initiative to Reduce Vaccine Waste. PHERO 8(10):253-55.
  • Deasy T, Deshpande R, Jaiyeola A, Naus M. Evaluating the Cold Chain in Ontario: Results of a Province-Wide Study. PHERO 8(3):44-52.
  • Murray Perrault K. Year 2000 Vaccine Management Plan for Health Units and Physicians’ Offices. PHERO 10(10) 212-16.



Lead Author(s)

Dara Friedman, Ottawa Public Health
Andrea Currie, North York General Hospital

Contributing Author(s)

Core Indicators Infectious Disease Subgroup

CIWG Reviewers

Core Indicators Infectious Disease Subgroup

External Reviewers

Effie Gournis, Toronto Public Health
Ameeta Mathur, Toronto Public Health
Rachel Savage, Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion

Changes Made


Type of Review-Formal Review or Ad Hoc?

Changes made by


June 2008

Formal Review

Infectious Disease subgroup of Core Indicators

  • New specific indicators added for newly funded vaccines
    • Per cent of varicella vaccine wasted
    • Per cent of pneumoccocal polysaccharide vaccine wasted
    • Per cent of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine wasted 
  • Added related outcomes from draft Ontario Public Health Standards  
  • Updated indicator comments

January 27, 2009

Formal Review

Infectious Disease subgroup of Core Indicators

  • Incorporated reviewer comments.
January 30, 2012Ad hocSherri Deamond on behalf of CIWG
  • Added "Changes Made" and "Acknowledgements" sections


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