Vaccines are a medical marvel that date back to the late 1700s, and now, more than ever, they are essential for protecting the health of children and adults alike around the world. Many statistics are kept to track the health of Americans, and the WHO monitors the health of the entire human race. The numbers show that vaccines save many lives per year, and often, those are the lives of children. In the United States, for example, many fewer lives are lost to measles than ever before, with a 79% drop in fatalities from the year 2000 to the year 2014. This is thanks to the work of vaccines, and children and adults alike must be diligent about their immunization. Despite their great power, vaccines are rather fragile, and they must be kept in proper medical grade refrigerators or vaccine freezers until they are ready for use. An ordinary household won’t need such medical grade refrigerators, but a research lab or a hospital’s staff will certainly invest in medical grade freezers and medical grade refrigerators, or both. A small, benchtop freezer may be used in smaller labs, and huge medical grade refrigerators may take up floor space in a roomer hospital to store many vaccines inside. And what about the history of vaccines?
Vaccines Through the Years
As mentioned earlier, vaccines are not a new concept. They date back to the year 1796, and at the time, a man named Dr. Edward Jenner pioneered the “arm to arm” inoculation method, as he called it. Mr. Jenner did this when he extracted a tissue sample from the skin blister of a cowpox patient and injected that sample into the skin of another patient. In this way, the second patient’s immune system was exposed to a relatively safe sample of the cowpox virus, training that person’s immune system to fight it. This helped make a patient resistant to smallpox, which was the idea all along.
The concept of vaccines certainly persisted, and they became ever more effective and varied as the decades went on. By the 1940s, vaccines were being mass produced for the first time, and they were mainly designed to fight common viruses of the day such as Diphtheria, tetanus, the whooping cough, and smallpox. By now, in the late 2010s, viruses can protect young and elderly patients alike from even more contagions, ranging from Polio to measles and more. All American citizens can and should receive inoculation from these viruses, as a baby’s or child’s immune system is still developing and may need reinforcements. Routine shots will bolster a youngster’s immune system, and protect them from illnesses that often claimed young lives in times past. Adults may need updates to their immunization every so often, and the elderly will also need them. A crowded retirement home is an ideal place for disease to spread unless the residents receive fresh shots.
Storing Those Vaccines
Delicate vaccines, not to mention tissue samples and bacteria cultures, can be kept safe and secure inside medical grade refrigerators and laboratory freezers designed for such contents. These freezers and medical grade refrigerators can be found online for sale from wholesale medical suppliers, or even on the secondary market. However, ordinary freezers and fridges should not be used in their place, since regular cooler units are only designed to store food and drinks. These commercial coolers have an unacceptably wide temperature variance when they are opened, which would ruin vaccines inside. Instead, a lab or hospital’s staff may invest in medical grade freezers and other coolers, which offer superior temperature regulation inside.
Some vaccines can be held at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit inside a fridge, according to the CDC, while others may need a much lower temperature ranging from -58 degrees to 5 degrees Fahrenheit (also according to the CDC’s guidelines). A lab’s staff should also take care that they buy a fridge of the correct size, as a too-small unit can’t hold all their vaccines and a too-large unit is a waste of money and takes up space. Larger hospitals may use massive fridges, while a small lab with space constraints may buy a small countertop unit or a unit that fits into a cabinet.