A wide variety of innovations and discoveries have transformed the field of medicine in the last few centuries, from germ theory and microscopes, all the way to sterilization practices for surgical equipment to vaccines. All of these and more have made medicine much more effective, and allow many more patients to survive treatment. Vaccines, for their part, are vital in limiting the spread of deadly viruses, and vaccines have been in use for over 200 years now. Modern vaccines protect patients from a wide variety of illnesses, to be sure, but only if those vaccines are properly stored in pharmaceutical refrigerators and the like. Vaccine storage refrigerators and vaccine freezers can carefully keep their interior chilled, and they range from benchtop freezer models to huge pharmaceutical refrigerators that can store hundreds of vaccines at once. What else is there to know about vaccines and their proper storage?
Vaccines Then and Now
The very concept of vaccines is an old one, and vaccines as we know them date back to the year 1796. In that year, the British scientist Edward Jenner developed what he called the “arm to arm” inoculation method, to protect patients from smallpox. He did this by extracting a tissue sample from a cowpox patient’s skin blister to a second patient, and this controlled exposure would train the second patient’s immune system to recognize and fight off smallpox and cowpox. This method proved a success, and vaccines continued to be used, produced, and researched ever since then. By the 1940s, vaccines entered mass production for the first time, and many of them were designed to fight off common illnesses of the time such as smallpox, whooping cough, diphtheria, and tetanus. By now, in the 21st century, vaccines can also fight off Polio, measles, and other illnesses as well.
Patients young and old alike have an urgent need for vaccines and routine shots, to protect both their health and that of the community. A baby’s immune system is still growing, and in centuries past, many babies and children died of disease. But that is not the case today, since parents bring their children to the doctor’s office multiple times to have routine shots done. This bolsters the child’s immune system, and that keeps them and their community quite safe. Meanwhile, adults can and should visit urgent care centers and hospitals for shots during influenza season, and many communities will advertise free flu drives like these. Elderly citizens also need some vaccines, to help bolster their age-worn immune systems and prevent the spread of disease in crowded retirement homes.
Many statistics show how effective all these vaccines are. Around the globe, 2.5 million lives are saved via various vaccines, and the measles vaccine has saved 171. million lives since the year 2000. In particular, the yearly measles death toll dropped from 546,800 in the year 2000 down to 114,900 by 2014. That is an impressive 79% decrease. But even the powerful measles vaccine needs proper storage before use, and that means having pharmaceutical refrigerators on hand. Who is buying them, and what can these pharmaceutical grade refrigerators do?
Proper Vaccine Storage
A medical grade pharmaceutical refrigerator is a must for vaccine storage, along with scientific freezers. Commercial freezers and fridges are not sufficient for this, since they are designed for storing ordinary food and drinks, and their internal temperature is heavily disrupted when their doors are opened. This would ruin any vaccines being stored inside. By contrast, pharmaceutical refrigerators can carefully regulate their internal temperatures, and they don’t lose those temperatures easily when they are opened. They also feature internal holding racks for convenient storage of vaccines and tissue samples. CDC guidelines demand a temperature between -58 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit (-50 to -15 Celsius) for frozen vaccines, and 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) for other vaccine types.
Fortunately, vaccine storage units vary in internal temperature, size, and storage capacity alike, so a wholesale buyer can find anything they need through online catalogs. The staff of a large hospital can find a huge pharmaceutical refrigerator that stores hundreds of vaccines at once, useful for a flu drive (to name one example). The staff at a small clinic or lab can buy a petite benchtop freezer or an under-the-counter model to save room.