Over the last few centuries, a number of advances have pushed the medical field to new heights, such as the invention of microscopes and the discovery of germ theory. Sterilization methods, first pioneered in the mid 1800s, helped make surgical needles and scalpels pathogen-free for use, cutting down on hospital deaths. Meanwhile, vaccines have been in use since the late 1700s, and these vaccines have saved countless lives from deadly viruses ever since. Today around the world, a wide variety of vaccines can block an even wider assortment of diseases such as Rubella, measles, polio, and smallpox. But these vaccines are delicate, and they need proper storage solutions. A hospital or research lab will have benchtop freezers to save space, or these vaccine freezers may be a large model for storing many vaccines in a sizeable hospital. Pharmaceutical freezers and fridge units may be used at hospitals or research labs to store tissue samples and vaccines, too. How can a hospital staff find the right medical grade freezer for their vaccine storage needs? Will they need a small model, or a benchtop freezer?
The History of Vaccines
Vaccines date back further than some people may realize. In the year 1796, a man named Edward Jenner developed what he called the “arm to arm” inoculation method, and he did this by extracting a tissue sample from a cowpox patient’s skin blister. He then transferred this sample to another patient, and this exposure trained the patient’s immune system to recognize and fight off infections such as cowpox and smallpox. This concept took off, and over the years, vaccines continued to be used and developed to fight off infection. By the 1940s, vaccines were being mass produced for the first time, often to fight off common viruses of the day such as smallpox, Diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough. Later, Polio and measles were also stymied by the efforts of vaccines, and today, these diseases are a rarity.
Countless lives have been saved with the effort of vaccines, and an estimated 2.5 million deaths are prevented every year due to proper inoculations. In particular, the Rubella and measles viruses are claiming fewer victims than ever due to vaccines. The CDC and the Measles and Rubella Initiative have shown many studies related to vaccine effort, and in particular, from 2000 to 2014, there was a 79% drop in the rate of measles-related deaths, down from 546,800 to 114,900. This is a considerable decrease. The WHO and the Rubella and Measles Initiative have estimated that since the year 2000, the measles vaccine has saved some 17.1 million lives.
Who gets vaccines? Children and babies get safe, routine inoculations to bolster their developing immune systems to fight off disease, making the high infant mortality rates of times past an utter relic. Meanwhile, the elderly may also get vaccines to update their previous inoculations and reinforce their age-worn immune systems. This can help prevent the spread of disease in crowded retirement homes.
Storing Vaccines Properly
Vaccines are highly effective, to be sure, but they also need proper storage solutions. This is where benchtop freezers and vaccine fridges come in, and the staff at any hospital or research lab can find them from medical wholesale companies. The staff may browse an online catalog to find different benchtop freezer or vaccine fridge models, and choose one that best suits their needs and budget.
Ordinary fridges and freezers will not do, since they are designed with food and drinks in mind and have a too-wide temperature flux when their doors are opened. This is fine for food, but not for delicate vaccines. Frozen vaccines should be stored at temperatures ranging from -58 degrees to 5 degrees Fahrenheit, and others can be stored at 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Care should be taken about which model of freezer or fridge to buy. A large, busy hospital will need a sizeable freezer or fridge model to store everything, while a small, cramped lab will need a petite model. This is why some labs purchase benchtop freezer models, which don’t take up any floor space. In fact, some fridges or freezers can be an under-the-counter model to save even more space.