Vaccines rank highly among the many medical innovations and discoveries of the last 300 years or so, alongside sterilization techniques, germ theory, and powerful microscopes. It is thanks to vaccines that medical experts can immunize children and adults alike against deadly viruses, which helps maintain public health and minimize fatalities due to those diseases. Vaccines save many lives per year, and they can work against many different virus strains out there.
These vaccines are also somewhat fragile, though, and also require some proper storage solutions. They are sensitive to temperature, so a hospital or research lab’s staff will purchase lab freezers, medical refrigerators, and the like to serve as vaccine freezers on the premises. Medical freezers and lab freezers can control their internal temperature better than commercial freezers, and the same is true of biomedical refrigerators and scientific freezers.
Vaccines of the Past and Present
The very idea of vaccines was launched in the year 1796, when a man named Edward Jenner pioneered what he called the “arm to arm” inoculation method to fight against smallpox. He did this by extracting a tissue sample from the skin blister of a cowpox patient, then inject that material into the arm of a second patient. This way, the second patient’s immune system is trained to recognize and fight off cowpox or smallpox upon contact, thus bolstering their immune system. This idea proved a success, and vaccines have been developed and used ever since. By the 1940s, vaccines entered mass production for the first time, and many of them fought common diseases of the day such as Diphtheria, smallpox, tetanus, and whooping cough. Ever since then, Polio and measles are also common targets for vaccines, and to great effect.
Today, vaccines save many lives per year against deadly viruses, and the WHO and the Measles and Rubella initiative say that the measles vaccine has saved 17.1 million lives since the year 2000. In particular, yearly total of measles-related deaths had dropped from 548,000 in 2000 down to 114,900 by 2014, which is an impressive 79% decrease.
Responsible parents will bring their children and babies to the doctor’s office regularly for routine shots and vaccines, and parents and the doctor may have a schedule of vaccines planned for the child’s first few years of life. These shots will be both safe and very effective, and that is important since a child’s immune system is still developing. In centuries past, many children and babies died from disease, since their immune systems were still immature. Today’s vaccine efforts have put a stop to that.
Even adults may sometimes need shots to update their immune system, and the elderly often need new shots, too. A senior citizen’s immune system is worn out from decades of life, and this may make a person vulnerable to disease. Infections might spread rapidly in a retirement home unless the residents get routine shots to protect them, and this is often done.
Lab Freezers for the Job
Parents may bring their children to the doctor’s office for shots, while the hospital’s staff will concern themselves with storage solutions, such as lab freezers and medical grade fridge units. These units are designed to precisely control their internal temperature, even when their doors are opened, and that is essential for keeping delicate vaccines in good shape. Commercial coolers and freezers are designed for food, and can’t regulate their internal temperatures well enough when their doors are opened.
The staff at a hospital or research lab may look online to find these lab freezers and vaccine fridges, and local wholesale supply companies should stock them. Buyers may look through the supplier’s online catalog to find what they need, or even browse the secondary market to find gently used models (and look them over before making a purchase). What to look for? A buyer should know the scale of their vaccine storage needs, and know how much room they will have for that unit. Some freezers or coolers are larger and heavier than others, and that must be taken into account. A large hospital may need a large freezer, and staff there can clear up enough floor space for a new one. At a small lab, a petite benchtop or under-the-counter unit might be used instead.