Many medical advances have been made in the last few centuries, from germ theory to the discovery of cells, along with standardized sterilization methods, such as with autoclaves. Vaccines are another major medical breakthrough, and for over 200 years, vaccines have helped protect many lives from deadly viruses and limited the spread of such contagions. Many statistics are being kept around the world to track health trends in various nations, and the numbers show that vaccines are as relevant as ever. In particular, the WHO and the Measles and Rubella Initiative have estimated that ever since the year 2000, some 17.1 million lives have been saved due to measles vaccination efforts. In particular, the number of measles-related deaths has dropped from 546,800 in the year 2000 down to 114,900 in 2014, which is a 79% decrease overall. Children and adults alike are strongly urged to get shots regularly to protect themselves (and their communities) from deadly viruses, and a hospital may have many vaccines to distribute to interested patients (such as during influenza season).
Vaccines are powerful in the battle against disease, but they are also fragile, being sensitive to temperature. Thus, research labs make use of laboratory refrigerators and lab freezer units to keep vaccines and tissue samples in good condition, and hospitals may also use vaccine freezers and laboratory refrigerators to protect vaccines in any quantity. These laboratory refrigerators and pharmaceutical freezers may be found when a hospital’s staff look online to find such laboratory refrigerators from wholesale medical suppliers, or they may even browse the secondary market to find gently used laboratory refrigerator models, too.
Vaccines Then and Now
Vaccines date back further than some people may realize. The idea of using controlled virus samples to bolster an immune system dates back to 1796, when a man named Mr. Edward Jenner pioneered what he called the “arm to arm” inoculation method. He designed this vaccination to fight the smallpox virus, and Mr. Jenner did this by obtaining a tissue sample from a cowpox patient’s skin blister and transferring that sample to the arm of a second patient. In this manner, the second patient’s immune system is trained to fight the smallpox virus, and that can protect the patient against future infections.
Needless to say, this proved a success, and vaccines continued to be used ever since. Over time, vaccines were refined and enhanced to protect against even more diseases, and by the 1940s, vaccines were being mass produced for the first time. This might be partly due to American military personnel being shipped to other parts of the world for World War II. In any case, these mass produced vaccines protected patients from common diseases of the day, ranging from smallpox and whooping cough to Diphtheria and tetanus as well. By the 2010s, this list had long since expanded to include Polio and measles too, among others.
Children can and typically should get vaccinations early in life, and responsible parents may bring their children to the doctor’s office to have routine shots done. These shots and vaccinations will bolster that child’s immune system against many diseases, protecting them from viruses that often claimed young lives in times past. Not only that, but adults may sometimes get updated shots to help keep their immune system current, and senior citizens may have that done, too. Seniors have age-worn immune systems that may be vulnerable to disease without the help of vaccines, and this may be important to help prevent the spread of disease in a crowded retirement home. But before a vaccine can be administered, it needs to be stored properly.
Ordinary retail fridges and freezers are not proper substitutes for laboratory refrigerators, since commercial units are only designed for food and drinks and have dangerously wide temperature variation when their doors are opened. Rather, the staff of a hospital or a lab may look to medical supply wholesalers for laboratory refrigerators or vaccine freezers. Such units are designed to tightly control the temperature inside, and these cooler units may vary in size and storage space. Larger units are ideal for a busy hospital, while petite, countertop units or under-the-counter models are better for small research labs with limited storage space and square footage.