skip to sub-navigation skip to content

It's a New Day in Public Health.

The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

skip to sub-navigation skip to content
 

Vaccine Distribution

Contact the Immunization Section

McKesson Specialty - National Vaccine Distributor

In order to improve efficiency and achieve cost savings, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) initiated the Vaccine Management Business Improvement Project (VMBIP). The Florida Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program transitioned to the VMBIP, a centralized national vaccine inventory and distribution system, in April 2008. This initiative recommended several changes designed to enhance operating efficiency, improve vaccine inventory visibility, and reduce operating expenses. 

  • McKesson Specialty currently ships vaccines for Florida from Memphis, Tennessee.
  • McKesson Specialty will distribute VFC Program vaccines (with the exception of the varicella-containing vaccines) directly to the provider. 
  • Merck & Co. ships varicella-containing vaccine in insulated containers containing ice directly to the provider. 
  • The Department of Health, Central Pharmacy does not distribute VFC Program vaccines to Florida providers. 
  • Through VMBIP, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention selected McKesson Specialty as the distributor for publicly-purchased vaccines to providers enrolled in the VFC Program.  

Shipping Vaccines

After the VFC Program processes and approves the provider's vaccine order, McKesson Specialty will process and ship their vaccine orders within 5 to 10 business days via commercial carrier. 

  • Although FedEx® is their primary carrier, they may also use alternative carriers such as UPS® when vaccine delivery through FedEx® is not possible.
  • Shipping containers are recyclable. Recycle them through local recycling programs. Do not return them to McKesson Specialty.
  • To ensure that each container maintains the appropriate vaccine temperatures during shipment, McKesson will include easy-to-read temperature monitors, as well as a vaccine shipment packing slip outlining the vaccines received in the shipment.
  • We recommend providers keep 1 to 2 empty containers on hand to use for any vaccine returns.

Vaccine Deliveries/Temperature Monitor Indicators Instructions

McKesson Specialty will carefully review orders with special handling instructions or limited delivery times to ensure they deliver the vaccines within the specified window of time (Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). 

The "3M MonitorMark™" Time Temperature Indicator and the "ColdMark™" Freezer Indicator are included in all vaccine shipments. These monitor indicators consistently and accurately assess the exposure to temperature variants during the shipping process. Each monitor will be attached to a card that provides the recipient instructions as to how to read the monitor. 

Shipping containers are clearly marked "perishable" in order to alert clinic staff to refrigerate contents immediately upon arrival. In all cases, the recipient is instructed to do the following within 2 hours of shipment receipt:

  1. Providers should train front desk staff signing for the receipt of the vaccine shipment to alert the clinic's vaccine manager as soon as the vaccine arrives.
  2. Remove the indicator from the shipment container.
  3. Refrigerate vaccines between 35° and 46°F (2° and 8°C). Store varicella-containing vaccines in a freezer at 5°F (-15°C) or colder.
  4. After storing vaccines as instructed, recipients will read each of the indicators and verify that the temperature monitors have maintained the cold chain. 
  5. If the monitor does not read "OK", contact the McKesson Specialty Vaccine-viability Telephone Number at 877-836-7123 IMMEDIATELY and speak to a representative. Do not leave any voice messages.
  6. Never reject vaccine delivery or discard vaccine shipments without prior consultation with the VFC Program.

Procedure to Return Unserviceable Vaccine

McKesson Specialty accepts the return of all VFC Program-purchased nonviable (wasted or expired) vaccine from providers, which also includes influenza vaccine and direct-ship vaccines, and arranges for return of nonviable vaccine at no cost to the provider.

  • Contact your VFC Program representative at 800-483-2543 to request a postage-paid shipping label. 
  • Fax a copy of the Vaccine Return and Waste Form to the VFC Program at 850-245-4734.
  • Include a copy of the Vaccine Return and Waste Form with all expired or unserviceable vaccines in the container. Write "EXPIRED VACCINES" on the box.
  • Under no circumstances should providers return used syringes (with or without needles); open vials; broken vials; wasted products such as a syringe that was drawn up but not used; any multidose vial from which providers have withdrawn doses or expired diluents. These products are not available for federal excise tax credit and should be disposed properly by the provider and documented on the Vaccine Return and Waste Form. The Vaccine Return and Waste Form is created in Florida SHOTS™.