A number of inventions and discoveries in the past few hundred years have totally transformed the field of medicine, from the sterilization of surgical equipment and germ theory to microscopes and vaccines. All of these have saved many lives and made medicine a lot safer, and vaccines, for their part, go to great lengths to prevent the spread of deadly viruses. For over 220 years now, vaccines have protected young and old patients alike, and many shots and inoculations today are routine and quite safe. Still, vaccines are delicate and sensitive to temperature, so any hospital or research lab or urgent care center will need pharmaceutical freezers of all kinds on hand to store them. Petite benchtop freezers are a good example, or huge vaccine storage refrigerators and oversized pharmaceutical grade freezers at a large and busy hospital. What is there to know about pharmaceutical freezers and safe vaccine storage? What are vaccines capable of?
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. To do this, Mr. Jenner would transfer a tissue sample from a cowpox patient’s skin blister to a second patient, and in so doing, train the second patient’s immune system to recognize and fight off the virus. This proved a success, and patients have been protected from smallpox and cowpox ever since. And by the 1940s, vaccine mass production began in earnest, and many of those vaccines protected patients from common diseases of the day such as smallpox, diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus. In the 21st century, vaccines can now protect patients from an even wider variety of illnesses, such as Polio and measles, among others.
Who needs vaccines and shots at hospitals or urgent care centers? Babies and young children urgently need vaccinations, since their immune systems are weak and still growing. In centuries past, many youths died of disease, but modern vaccines protect babies and toddlers from many afflictions. Parents can bring their child to a doctor a few times for routine shots, and all that will be logged in the child’s medical records. Adult patients, for their part, can visit urgent care centers and hospitals to get flu shots during influenza season, and some communities may host flu drives to keep the entire community safe. Finally, take note that senior citizens have age-worn immune systems that are vulnerable to disease, so they often get vaccinations to keep them safe and to control the spread of disease at crowded retirement homes.
Many statistics show just how effective these vaccines are; for example, various vaccine types save 2.5 million lives around the world each year, and that includes the measles vaccine. This particular vaccine has saved an estimated 17.1 million lives since the year 2000, and from 2000 to 2014, the yearly death toll from measles dropped from 546,800 to just 114,900. That is an impressive 79% decrease in fatalities. Still, even the powerful measles vaccine needs proper storage before use, and that is where pharmaceutical freezers and lab refrigerators come in.
Cold Storage for Vaccines
Modern vaccines are delicate and need proper cold storage solutions, such as pharmaceutical freezers. Commercial fridges and freezers should not be used for this purpose, since they are meant to contain ordinary food and drinks, and their internal temperature varies too widely when the doors are opened. Such intense temperature changes could damage the vaccines stored inside. But that will not be an issue when medical grade freezers and fridges are used, which can more carefully regulate their temperatures and even feature storage racks for convenience. Frozen vaccines, according to the CDC, require an internal temperature of -58 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit, and regular vaccines need a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wholesale buyers can find these freezer and fridge models online through digital catalogs or secondary sellers, to find new or used units that fit their needs. Large pharmaceutical freezers and fridges take up floor space, but they are vital for large and busy hospitals. Meanwhile, a small urgent care center or research lab will need a petite benchtop model or even an under-the-counter model to save room.