The Ultimate Vaccine Management Plan Blueprint

March 4, 2024

Vaccines are a simple way to improve community health, but they’re anything but simple to manage. Time equals money, but for modern practices, both are often in short supply. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you assess not only the strengths of your program but also where a vaccine management plan can have the greatest impact.

Tailored for the needs of each practice, the purpose of a vaccine management plan is to simplify the vaccine supply chain, ensuring that vaccines are managed effectively from distribution to administration. Your plan represents the alignment of your immunization program’s goals, the investment of your staff, and the tools they’ve been equipped with to enable their success.

From systems to assist in preventing waste, ensuring optimal stock levels throughout the year, and streamlining the reordering process, the scope of the plan will vary from location to location. But the goal remains the same—an organized and easily maintained blueprint at the core of your vaccine program.

Without a vaccine management plan, your practice is more likely to:

  • Spend extra attention on time-consuming manual tasks
  • Put your staff and practice at increased risk of vaccine-related errors
  • Be at the mercy of your vaccine inventory, with overall limited visibility

Avoiding these pitfalls is critical for vaccinators of all sizes, and whether you represent a large system or a small independent practice, it starts with a plan—one that’s well-defined, actionable, and ultimately, contributes to a successful and impactful vaccination program. 

Continue reading for our practical strategies to craft (or revise!) a plan that aligns with the evolving needs of your practice. Unlock your program’s full potential as a force for positive change in your community.

A Robust Vaccine Management Plan
Begins with Goals

Establishing a Foundation for Success

Your vaccine management plan will eventually define and reflect the guiding principles of your immunization program, but crafting an effective plan doesn’t begin with actions, procedures, or software solutions. It starts by defining what success looks like for your practice, which requires clarity and intention. Clearly outlining your program’s goals will shape not only your plan but also all subsequent implementation and evaluation, greatly streamlining your overall efforts.

In our experience, there are three key areas where setting clear goals has the greatest impact.

Patient Experience
Considering the patient experience should be a key component of your vaccine management plan. Because patient satisfaction and loyalty are integral to a thriving primary care practice, it’s important to ensure that healthcare providers are taking all necessary steps to establish and maintain strong relationships with patients.

Satisfied patients are more likely to remain loyal to the same healthcare provider, contributing to the establishment of long-term relationships and enhancing the practice’s overall standing in the community. 

  • Same-visit access to all CDC scheduled and recommended products
  • Ready for all payment types (Medicaid, Medicare, self-pay) product product-specific eligibility at the point of care
  • Flexible appointment scheduling: Accommodate patient schedules [1], including evenings and weekends when offering appointment times.

A nurse putting a bandage onto the arm of a pediatric patient after she has received a vaccination.When patients feel like valued participants in their health, it is strongly correlated with a higher standard of care. By taking these steps, healthcare providers can ensure that patients are receiving the best possible care and are less likely to seek out vaccinations from pharmacies or other sources.

Patient Outcomes & Safety
Improving the outcomes and safety of your patients is where the standard of care starts, and your vaccine management plan plays a crucial role in both. A well-defined plan will assist your practice in streamlining processes and optimizing inventory management, ensuring timely access to recommended vaccines, leading to higher vaccination rates and improved individual and community immunity.

  • Advocacy & Adherence Programs: Patient outreach programs for seasonal vaccines and series completion.
  • Address vaccine hesitancy: Evidence-based information and resources to address vaccine hesitancy and patient concerns.
  • Verification procedures: Implement systems for double-checking vaccine orders, dosage calculations, and patient information before administration to reduce the risk of errors.
  • Point of Care Safety Checks: Expired dose, age indication, and right patient/right dose, safety checks on all dispensed products at the point of care.

A well-executed plan ensures that patients receive the right vaccines at the right time, promoting individual health and setting your staff up for success in managing potential vaccine hesitancy, an essential task as highlighted by SHRM research. [2]

Clinical & Non-Clinical Workflows
All vaccine-related work should be included in your vaccine management plan. This will allow staff to focus on patient interaction and deliver better care while managing larger workloads efficiently.

  • Non-Clinical Task Automation: Automated vaccine ordering, auditing, flu baselines, returns notifications, recall notifications, patient collections, and more.
  • Dedicated Point-of-Care Platform: Standardization tool(s) for all tasks from vaccine ordering to administration and reimbursement across locations.
  • ​​A Single Consistent Process: One process, regardless of specialty, location, or management.

Streamlined workflows and standardized processes—with clear guidelines for both clinical and non-clinical aspects—minimize the risk of errors, and ensure timely vaccine availability, accurate administration, and efficient data collection and reporting.

Your Vaccine Management Plan
Needs a Champion

The Conductor of Your Immunization Symphony

Critical to the success of any vaccine management plan is a vaccine manager. This position requires someone who will dedicate their expertise, organizational ability, and communication skills to serve as the central point of contact and coordination for all aspects of your vaccination program.

Whether you represent a large system handling a significant volume of vaccines or a smaller independent practice looking to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your vaccination program, a dedicated vaccine manager represents an invaluable investment for your practice, patients, and community.

A nurse removing a single dose vial (SDV) vaccine from a vaccine refrigerator.The Roles and Responsibilities of a Vaccine Manager
Understanding the best practices associated with this position is essential. From managing vaccine distribution to coordinating with healthcare providers, the vaccine manager plays a pivotal role in the success of your vaccine management plan.

Responsible for safeguarding healthcare providers as well as the overall health and functioning of immunizations across the practice, successful vaccine managers should expect to be fluent in:

  • Vaccine Management Systems
    Vaccine managers oversee your location’s entire vaccine management system, ensuring accurate data entry, reporting, and inventory management. This includes utilizing technology to maintain vaccine stock levels, track expiration dates, and optimize order fulfillment.
  • Vaccine Storage and Handling
    They ensure temperature control protocols and cold chain management regulations are followed—including collaborating with logistics providers and ensuring adherence to Vaccine Storage and Handling guidelines [3] established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Immunization Program Development and Implementation
    Working with public health officials and healthcare providers to develop and implement immunization programs tailored to specific community needs. This involves collaborating on outreach strategies, ensuring equitable access to vaccines, and assessment of program effectiveness.
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response
    Developing and implementing emergency preparedness plans to address potential vaccine supply disruptions or unforeseen program implementation challenges. 

Depending on the location, vaccine managers may also be responsible for:

Assessing program effectiveness to identify potential areas of improvement, managing the program’s financial resources to ensure efficient resource allocation, and maintaining adherence to healthcare compliance standards through ongoing education and training.

Vaccine managers play an indispensable role in safeguarding not only public health but the health of your practice as well, ensuring every aspect of your practice’s vaccine management plan is executed to the highest standards. 

Qualifications and Skills Required of a Vaccine Manager
A proficient vaccine manager must possess extensive knowledge of immunization programs and understand the nuances of vaccination rates to better steer the administration of vaccines within healthcare settings efficiently. 

Prior exposure to Healthcare Management, Public Health Administration, or a related field brings a valuable perspective to the role. Familiarity with project management as well as vaccine distribution, storage, and digital solutions, like VaxCare, represent a significant advantage for your vaccine management plan in streamlining processes and enabling an improved overall reporting efficiency.

Additionally, knowledge of pediatric and adult vaccines and a proactive approach to utilizing resources, like the AIM Leadership in Action Conference [4], is indispensable in keeping children and adults vaccinated and protected against disease.

The Right Tools for Your
Vaccine Management Plan

The Must-Have Features for Program Success

Efficient and accurate inventory management is an important aspect of patient safety and is foundational to the efficacy of your vaccine management plan. This makes vaccine management software and other tools essential for enhancing the immunization process in every primary care practice. It enables healthcare professionals to increase vaccination rates and better protect their patients and communities. 

Vaccine management software can contribute significantly toward improving these rates, but selecting the best options for your practice requires careful consideration of various factors, including your specific needs, the range of features offered by different software solutions, and the seamless integration with your existing practice management systems. 

Utilizing the goals outlined in your vaccine management plan to choose the right software and implement it effectively will ensure quality care for your patients and operational efficiency in your medical practice.

Key Features of Vaccine Management Software
Vaccine management software is an indispensable tool for primary care, streamlining the entire immunization process by addressing the most important aspects of vaccine administration and inventory control.

The ideal vaccine management software to incorporate into your vaccine management plan should include a range of features tailored to facilitate the vaccination process effectively.

Tracking of private vaccines with support for stocks of all types (e.g. VFC, State), allowing them to be managed separately. Tracks historical and ongoing usage—by season—to predict inventory needs, and eliminate missed vaccination opportunities. Vaccine verification from initial order through point-of-care, ensuring compliance and safeguarding patient populations. Integrates with Electronic Health Records for comprehensive, consolidated patient immunization history. Reports to Immunization Information Systems, safeguarding immunization information completeness.

These core features improve the process of ordering vaccines, streamline administrative duties, enhance patient safety, and elevate the standard of care for medical practices of all sizes.

Benefits of Vaccine Management Software
Vaccine management software offers a suite of benefits that streamline the vaccination process and secure better healthcare outcomes. These specialized systems automate and optimize the tasks you’ve targeted in your vaccine management plan (e.g. inventory tracking, patient outreach, secure, efficient, and equitable vaccine administration, etc.)

  • Greater Inventory Accuracy
    Vaccine management software simplifies and optimizes the vaccine ordering process and helps healthcare facilities minimize financial losses due to expired or unused vaccines, leading to precise inventory control with fewer financial losses due to expired or unused vaccines.
  • Streamlined Workflows
    In an environment where healthcare burnout is a crisis, as noted by the U.S. Surgeon General [5], solutions like VaxCare are invaluable, automating back-end clinical processes and supply-chain management, liberating healthcare workers from time-consuming administrative tasks, allowing them to dedicate more effort to patient care.
  • Enhanced Patient Safety
    Ensuring patient well-being is vital during vaccine administration. Management software prevents errors, wastage, and improves safety while avoiding billing mistakes.
  • Improved Vaccination Rates
    Effective vaccine management software streamlines secure storage, distribution, and tracking of doses to ensure safety and efficacy. Integrated with EHRs, it facilitates accurate documentation to identify coverage gaps and address vaccine hesitancy.

By enhancing data accuracy, simplifying administrative workflows, and providing comprehensive analytics, vaccine management software is instrumental in helping healthcare providers and public health administrators increase vaccination rates and achieve healthier communities.

Understanding the Cold Chain and Its Role in Your Vaccine Management Plan
The cold chain refers to a system designed to maintain vaccines at recommended temperatures throughout the transportation, storage, and handling process. Exposure to temperatures outside the recommended range can lead to reduced vaccine efficacy or spoilage.

Best practices for maintaining the cold chain in healthcare settings, as outlined in the WHO Vaccine Management Handbook [6], include:

  1. Implementing Efficient Inventory Management
    Utilizing advanced vaccine management systems that track vaccine inventories with precision and provide dose-level access, thus minimizing waste and optimizing stock levels.
  2. Maintaining Compliance
    Implementing automated systems that simplify reporting and compliance with CDC and VFC guidelines [7] for temperature logs and inventory reports.

This is where vaccine management systems can provide the greatest assistance to cold chain adherence—with offerings like VaxCare enabling practices to track doses from the initial order through billing and claim adjudication, healthcare providers can ensure the administration of potent vaccines to patients.

Other Considerations for Your Vaccine Management Plan

  • Ordering & Managing Inventory
    From the moment you place your first order, a vaccine program can be a source of lost revenue. Those losses can then continue silently, hidden in continually occurring processes. This is why you need vaccine management software that can correctly predict your inventory needs and provide end-to-end inventory tracking.
  • ‘Lost’ Doses
    Vaccine loss is a major concern for medical practices. Low profit margin vaccines can require four or more additional shots to compensate for the loss of a single dose. Efficient vaccine management software can help absorb any losses that are simply unavoidable.
  • Rates & Admin
    Because insurance providers reimburse at different rates, your vaccine management software should make it easy to calculate an appropriate billing rate to cover not just your purchase price but the administration and supply costs as well.
  • Coding & Auditing
    Vaccine management software that can identify when to bill a patient directly and then assist in following up on the auditing process is invaluable when it comes to avoiding revenue “leakage.” Without automation, even the most organized and efficient offices will still spend excess time following up on denials due to coding errors.

The VaxCare Hub with two VaxCare Mobile Hubs in their charging bases.

VaxCare’s Dedicated Vaccine Management Solution

Your vaccine program, simplified.

You give the shot—we handle the rest.

  • We take over your vaccine purchasing, providing unlimited inventory at no cost and automatically replenishing your stock when the supply gets low. Lost or expired doses? We’ll replace those for free.
  • We automate your workflow and coding, eliminating manual tasks and reducing costly errors.
  • Our platform ensures you’re paid for every qualifying dose while offering you the complete visibility you need to keep your vaccine program profitable.

VaxCare’s end-to-end solution removes the financial and operational burdens of the typical ‘buy and bill’ model. Providing practices with vaccines at no upfront cost, our automated platform reduces coding and billing errors, drastically altering the calculus for your vaccine management plan. The result is an immunization program with greater profitability, visibility, and better patient outcomes.

Point of Care
Patient Safety
Insurance &
Dose Tracking

Many EHRs Offer Some Support for Vaccines
While not purpose-built for vaccines, EHRs still offer incredible value for primary care practices. They provide efficient patient data management, and quick access to comprehensive medical histories, diagnoses, and treatment plans. This accessibility improves diagnostic accuracy and treatment decisions, ultimately enhancing patient care.

The ideal option for many practices lies in integrating dedicated vaccine management software with their existing EHR—with the vaccine platform focusing on efficient vaccine inventory control, ordering, and administration, and the EHR enhancing overall patient care and promoting greater practice efficiency.

Finding the Right Match
Practices should check that both the vaccine management system and EHR use standardized interfaces such as HL7 or FHIR [8], as this increases the likelihood of a smooth integration.

If you still have questions after reviewing vendor documentation for compatibility details and specific requirements, requesting a demo from the vendor may be in order. The firsthand experience will allow you to assess integration quality and ensure the workflow aligns with your practice’s needs.

Healthcare providers may also face difficulties in staff training and the adoption of integrated systems. To remedy this, ensure that your vaccine management plan includes training and ongoing support to facilitate ease of use and encourage acceptance among staff.

The right choice can help your practice gain back the precious time and energy spent simply managing your program.

Vaccine Management Plan
Training and Support

A Short Learning Curve With Long-Term Benefits

Efficient Onboarding Focused on the User
When addressing training and support for your vaccine management plan, it is crucial to prioritize systems that are designed to integrate seamlessly with your existing workflows. This approach will minimize the learning curve and reduce the need for extensive training, ensuring a smooth transition for healthcare staff.

Look for a comprehensive onboarding process that includes detailed documentation—preferably including video tutorials that can provide a visual representation of the system’s capabilities, making it easier for your staff to grasp complex concepts. 

Responsive customer support is also an essential aspect of a successful onboarding process. A support team that is readily available to answer any questions or troubleshoot issues can make a significant difference in how quickly your staff members can adapt. 

Time Savings, Error Reduction, and Enhanced Patient Care
Investing in a vaccine management system can offer numerous benefits to healthcare facilities. One of the most significant advantages is the long-term time savings it provides. By automating manual processes and streamlining workflows, staff can focus on delivering excellent patient care instead of spending countless hours on administrative tasks. Additionally, real-time monitoring allows for quick identification and resolution of any issues, further enhancing efficiency.

A well-implemented system should tick all the boxes from your vaccine management plan, while minimizing the risk of errors, fostering patient safety, and reducing administrative burdens.

Data-Driven Decision-Making
When it comes to managing vaccines, starting with a vaccine management plan may seem obvious, but it can make all the difference. It’s not just about storing vaccines and tracking their usage—it’s also about leveraging data to make informed decisions that can improve patient care and drive efficiency.

One of the key benefits of a vaccine management system is its ability to provide valuable insights through data analytics. By collecting and analyzing data on vaccine usage, inventory levels, and patient demographics, clinics can gain a deeper understanding of their operations and identify areas for improvement. For example, they may discover that certain vaccines are underutilized or that there are patterns in patient behavior that could be addressed through targeted outreach or education.

In addition to these immediate benefits, having a vaccine management system in place can also position clinics for future changes in regulations, reporting requirements, and healthcare technologies. By investing in a system that is adaptable and flexible, clinics can ensure that they are prepared to respond to new challenges or opportunities without significant disruptions.

It may seem like a lot to consider, but because each plan is tailored to the needs of your practice, taking the time now to develop a vaccine management plan will ultimately simplify your vaccine supply chain and provide you with an organized, easily maintained blueprint that is central to your program.

Because a vaccine program offers tremendous value for your patients—but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your practice or staff.


[1] (2024, March 4). Growing and sustaining high-performing primary care practices (MGMA). https://www.mgma.com/articles/growing-and-sustaining-high-performing-primary-care-practices
[2] (2024, March 4). Confronting Vaccine Misinformation in the Workplace (SHRM). https://www.shrm.org/topics-tools/news/managing-smart/confronting-vaccine-misinformation-workplace
[3] (2024, March 4). Vaccine Storage and Handling Resources (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/admin/storage/index.html
[4] (2024, March 4). AIM Leadership in Action Conference (AIM). https://www.immunizationmanagers.org/news-events/
[5] (2024, March 4). Health Worker Burnout (HHS). https://www.hhs.gov/surgeongeneral/priorities/health-worker-burnout/index.html
[6] (2024, March 4). Vaccine Management Handbook (WHO). https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-IVB-15.04
[7] (2024, March 4). Vaccine Storage and Handling Resources (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/admin/storage/index.html
[8] (2024, March 4). FHIR Fact Sheets (HealthIT.gov). https://www.healthit.gov/topic/standards-technology/standards/fhir-fact-sheets

Additional Resources
For more information on vaccine management and healthcare compliance, including best practices, training opportunities, and relevant updates on immunization programs, we recommend:

World Health Organization (WHO): https://www.who.int/immunization/diseases/en/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/
Immunize.org: https://www.immunize.org/

March 4, 2024