A variety of discoveries and innovations have advanced the field of medicine, from surgical equipment sterilization to germ theory to microscopes and, of course, vaccines. Around the world, vaccines save many lives each year, and the very concept of vaccines dates back further than many people realize. Some diseases have been rendered practically extinct, and others have become much rarer than they used to be. But for all their power, vaccines are fragile, and need to be stored properly in biomedical refrigerators, vaccine freezers, and other medical grade freezers. These range from petite benchtop freezers at a small research lab to large biomedical refrigerators at hospitals that can store many vaccines at once. What is there to know about current vaccination efforts and the proper storage of those vaccines? Wherever vaccines are, biomedical refrigerators are bound to be nearby.
Vaccines in History and Today
The very idea of vaccines as we know them dates back to late 18th century England. In the year 1796, the British scientist Edward Jenner developed the “arm to arm” inoculation method against smallpox. He did this by extracting a tissue sample from the skin blister of a cowpox patient and transferring it to a second patient. So, the second patient’s immune system was trained to recognize and fight off cowpox and smallpox through that controlled exposure, and thus, the concept of vaccines was proven a success. Vaccines continued to be used and developed since then, and by the 1940s, mass production of vaccines began in earnest. Many of them were geared to fight off common diseases of the time, such as smallpox, whooping cough, tetanus, diphtheria, and others. By now, in the 21st century, Polio and measles are also blocked with vaccines.
Young and old patients alike have urgent need for vaccines. In centuries past, many children and babies died from disease, since their immune systems were still growing. Today, responsible parents bring their babies and toddlers to the doctor’s office for safe and routine shots for all sorts of diseases, and these are logged in the young patient’s medical records. This keeps children safe from disease, and it helps protect their community, too. Meanwhile, older patients may visit urgent care centers for shots to protect themselves and others around them during flu season, and the elderly need shots, too. A senior citizen’s immune system is worn out by age, and needs vaccines to stay current and fight off disease. This can also help prevent the spread of disease in crowded retirement homes.
Vaccines save many lives, especially from the measles virus. The World Health Organizations and Measles and Rubella Initiative estimate that ever since the year 2000, around 17.1 million lives have been saved through the measles vaccine. Also, from the year 2000 to 2014, the annual number of measles-related deaths dropped from 546,800 to 114,900, a 79% decrease overall. And as a whole, vaccines of all types save 2.5 million lives around the globe each year. Still, all these vaccines are going to need storage in order to work.
Storage Solutions for Vaccines
Vaccines are sensitive to temperature, and they need to be stored in biomedical refrigerators and pharmacy freezers that can generate and maintain the necessary temperature. Only medical grade equipment should be used for this, as opposed to commercial fridges and freezers. Commercial cooling units lose their internal temperature when their doors are opened, and that would damage vaccines stored inside. But medical grade containers don’t have that problem, and better yet, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes for any wholesale buyer’s needs. They can be bought new, or gently used through online catalogs and secondary sellers.
It is usually hospital and research lab staff who are looking for wholesale biomedical refrigerators and freezers to buy, and they should find a unit whose internal temperatures and size fit their needs. At a small research lab, a small benchtop freezer won’t take up much room, and an under the counter freezer won’t take up any floor space at all. At a large and busy hospital, the staff can look for huge biomedical refrigerators and freezers that can store hundreds of vaccines at once, and clear up enough floor space for them. This could be helpful for a flu shot drive, for example.