Proper Storage Solutions For Vaccines

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Vaccines are almost certainly one of the most important scientific and medical innovations of the past 300 years, alongside sterilization for medical equipment, germ theory, and powerful microscopes. For many years now, vaccines have helped immunize people young and old against deadly viruses, and this has saved countless lives. In fact, the very idea of vaccines dates back to the late 1700s, and today’s vaccines can fight off many diseases of all sorts.

Still, for all their power, vaccines are rather fragile and need proper storage before use. In particular, vaccines are sensitive to temperature, and they require medical freezers and medical grade refrigerators to keep them safe. Even a little benchtop freezer can do this, and the largest medical freezers and vaccine refrigerator models can safely store countless vaccines at once. Medical refrigerators are available on the secondary market and in the catalogs of medical wholesale suppliers, and staff at a hospital or research lab may buy one for their needs. What to look for in a medical freezer? And what about the history of vaccines as we know them?

Vaccines of the Past and Present

Vaccines got their proper start back in 1796, when the famed British scientist Edward Jenner developed what he called the “arm to arm” inoculation method against smallpox. To protect patients from smallpox, he would extract a tissue sample from a cowpox patient’s skin blister, then transfer that material to the arm of a second patient. By doing this, Mr. Jenner could train the second patient’s immune system to recognize and fight off smallpox and cowpox, rendering them nearly immune. This method proved successful, and over the following years, many new vaccines have been innovated and used. By the 1940s in particular, vaccines entered mass production, and they often fought off common diseases of the time such as smallpox, Diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough. Ever since then, Polio and measles are also targeted by vaccines.

Studies show how effective all these vaccines are. The WHO and the Measles and Rubella Initiative, for example, determined that ever since the year 2000, some 17.1 million lives have been saved thanks to the measles vaccines. And from the year 2000 to 2014, the yearly death toll due to measles dropped from 548,000 down to 114,900, and that is a considerable 79% decrease overall.

Who gets vaccines? Babies and children get a variety of shots early in life, and these vaccines are both safe and very important for a young life. Parents will bring their children and babies to the doctor for routine shots, and they may follow a schedule for vaccines in that child’s first few years of life. In centuries past, diseases often killed children and babies since their immune systems were still growing, but modern vaccines have put a stop to that. Meanwhile, adults may sometimes get updates on their vaccines to stay current, and the elderly in particular need shots to reinforce their age-worn immune systems. Doing this can help prevent the spread of disease in a crowded retirement home, for example.

Meanwhile, what about storage solutions for all these vaccines?

Storage Done Right

As mentioned earlier, vaccines are delicate and sensitive to temperature, so the staff of a hospital or research lab will need to have the correct medical freezers or fridges on hand. Commercial fridges or freezers are not sufficient for this, since they are meant to store ordinary food and can’t regulate their internal temperature carefully enough. Their internal temperatures may vary widely as the doors are opened and closed, but medical freezers and fridges are designed to keep their internal temperature more stable.

Buyers may find these medical grade coolers and freezers online, for example, and browse the online catalogs that medical supply wholesalers may offer. In fact, buyers can also find gently used medical freezers on the secondary market, though they may want to look over a model before making a purchase. What to look for? Any freezer or fridge will vary in size and weight, and a large hospital may need a large one to store many vaccines at once. The staff can clear enough floor space for it. Meanwhile, a smaller research lab’s staff may buy a petite benchtop freezer or even an under-the-counter model to save room.

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