A variety of discoveries and innovations have transformed the field of medicine in the last few centuries, from the sterilization of surgical equipment to germ theory and microscopes all the way to vaccines. Ever since the 1790s, vaccines have been saving many lives each year, and they will protect patients from deadly diseases that once claimed many victims. Modern vaccines can protect patients from a wide variety of viruses, but still, those vaccines need proper storage at a hospital or research lab or urgent care center. This is where lab freezers, vaccine refrigerators, and other medical grade freezers come into play, and they are geared for keeping vaccines in proper cold storage until they are used. What should a person know about lab freezers and the vaccines stored inside?
Vaccines Past and Present
The concept of vaccines as we know them dates back to the year 1796, when 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 and transferring it to a second patient’s arm, and in so doing, he trained the second patient’s immune system to recognize and fight off viruses of that nature. This method proved a success, and ever since then, vaccines have been manufactured and used to save many lives from deadly viruses. By the 1940s, mass production of vaccines had begun for the first time, and many of those vaccines were designed to protect patients from common diseases of the time such as smallpox, whooping cough, diphtheria, and tetanus. In the 21st century, we can now protect patients from even more viruses, such as Polio and measles.
Vaccines are essential for children and babies, whose immune systems are young and still growing, and thus vulnerable. Parents can bring their children to the doctor a few times so their child can get routine shots, and this will protect the child and their community. Adults can visit urgent care centers and hospitals during influenza season to attend flu shot drives, and the elderly also need shots of their own. Senior citizens have age-worn immune systems that may be vulnerable to disease, so vaccinations can help protect them. This is especially prudent for preventing the spread of disease at a crowded retirement home.
Many statistic show just how effective vaccines are. Studies show that around the globe, 2.5 million deaths are prevented through vaccination efforts. Meanwhile, the measles vaccine is hard at work protecting many people every year: ever since the year 2000, some 17.1 million lives have been saved by means of this vaccine. And from the year 2000 to 2014, the yearly death toll from measles dropped quite a bit, from 546,800 to 114,900. That is a 79% decrease overall. But none of this is possible without lab freezers and medical refrigerators to keep those vaccines safe until ready for use.
Vaccines and Medical Freezer Storage
Vaccines are sensitive to temperature, and only medical grade lab freezers or fridges can do the job correctly. By contrast, commercial fridges and freezers are designed with ordinary food and drinks in mind, and their internal temperature varies too much whenever their doors are opened. This could compromise any vaccines stored inside. Instead, the staff of a hospital or research lab will look up wholesale lab freezers and vaccine refrigerators online, and look for new or gently used models of these pharma grade cooler units. According to the CDC’s guidelines, frozen vaccines need a temperature ranging from -58 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit, or -50 to -15 degrees Celsius. Other vaccines will require a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or 5 degrees Celsius.
Medical grade freezers can generate and carefully maintain those temperatures just fine, and better yet, these lab freezers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as do medical fridges. The largest ones can store hundreds of vaccines at once, and are ideal for a large and busy hospital with floor space to spare. A small research lab’s or urgent care center’s staff can find petite benchtop freezers to save room, or even find under-the-counter freezers that won’t take up any floor space at all.