Vaccines rank among the most important advances in the field of medicine in recent history. The invention of microscopes unlocked the world of the tiny and sterilization techniques can kill pathogens on surgical tools, but vaccines can and do save millions of lives every year from a variety of contagions. For over 200 years, vaccines have blocked disease and allowed people to live longer than ever, which has also helped reverse serious infant mortality rates. But these powerful vaccines also need to be handled with care, and they are sensitive to temperature. This is why hospitals and research labs today have vaccine refrigerators, vaccine freezers, pharmaceutical freezers, and benchtop freezers to store them properly. These units may be found with the help of online catalogs that medical supplier wholesalers may offer, and these vaccine refrigerators can keep vaccines in good shape until ready to use. What is there to know about vaccine refrigerators and the history of vaccines?
Vaccines Then and Now
Vaccines date back further in time than some people may even realize. The concept of vaccines was launched in 1796, when a certain Edward Jenner developed what he called the “arm to arm” inoculation method to help patients fight off smallpox. He did this by extracting a tissue sample from a cowpox patient’s skin blister, and he transferred that sample to the arm of another patient. In this way, Mr. Jenner helped the second patient train their immune system to recognize and fight off infections such as smallpox and cowpox, and this proved to be a success. Vaccines continued to be developed over time, and by the 1940s, they entered mass production for the first time. Many of those vaccines were geared to fight smallpox, Diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus.
Today, even more diseases such as Polio and measles are contained with vaccines, and this saves many lives around the globe. In fact, many statistics and studies are done to track how well vaccines are working, and the numbers are clear. Every year, according to estimates, 2.5 million lives are saved due to the work of vaccines of many different types. Measles in particular is counter-acted with vaccines, and the WHO and Measles and Rubella Initiative say that ever since 2000, around 17.1 million lives have been saved with the measles vaccine. In particular, the number of measles-related deaths has dropped by 79%, down from a total of 548,000 in 2000 to 113,4000 in 2014.
Who gets vaccines? Anyone and everyone gets inoculated against disease, but it is children in particular who need their shots. Responsible parents will bring in their children to the doctor’s office for routine and safe shots, and this helps bolster the child’s immune system for a healthy life. The elderly may also get shots to update their immune systems, and this goes a long way toward preventing the spread of disease in crowded nursing homes. But what about proper vaccine storage methods?
Vaccine Refrigerators and Freezer Units
As mentioned earlier, vaccines are rather fragile and sensitive to temperature, so it is important for the staff of any hospital or research lab to purchase and use vaccine refrigerators and medical grade freezers to contain them. But ordinary, commercial freezers or coolers will not do, since those units are designed with food and beverages in mind, not delicate medical supplies. Those units’ internal temperatures vary too widely, especially as their doors are opened and closed.
Instead, the staff at a hospital or research lab will look online to buy medical grade freezers from wholesale suppliers, and they may even find some gently used units available from the secondary market. Buyers might want to look over a used unit before buying it, though, to be sure it is in good condition.
Buyers may also factor in the price of a unit, as well as its size. A too-large unit won’t fit in a small lab, and a too-small unit can’t hold all the vaccines that a busy hospital will have. Square footage should be factored in, and storage capacity, too. A large hospital may get a larger unit and clear up floor space for it, while a small research lab may only need a petite freezer that can sit on a countertop to save space.