Ever since their invention in the late 1700s, vaccines have proven to be a highly effective means of fighting off disease and preventing large scale epidemics in human populations around the world. The list of diseases and viruses prevented with vaccines has grown impressively long, and Americans young and old should and usually do get their proper vaccines. Young children get them to bolster their developing immune systems, and older Americans may get shots to update their older vaccines and stay healthy. Vaccines themselves are highly potent but also somewhat fragile, so a hospital or research lab’s staff will need a lab refrigerator or a medical fridge freezer to keep these vaccines in good condition. Vaccines are temperature sensitive, and some require lower temperatures than other. A lab refrigerator works for some, and scientific freezers or benchtop freezers are necessary for other vaccine models. What is there to know about vaccines’ history and the modern need for lab refrigerators and medical grade freezers?
Vaccines Then and Now
Vaccines as we know them have been used for over 200 years, and they were first innovated in 1796, when a man named Edward Jenner developed what he called the “arm to arm” inoculation methods. This involved obtaining a tissue sample from the skin blister of a cowpox patient and transferring it to another patient. Doing this allowed for a limited and controlled exposure of the cowpox virus to the second patient, training their immune system to fight back against cowpox, smallpox, and related diseases. This proved to be a success, and this medical technology continued to be developed and refined over the decades. By the 1940s, large scale production of vaccines began for the first time, and these vaccines dealt with common diseases of the time such as smallpox, Diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough. By the 21st century, vaccines have been further developed and can prevent other diseases too, including Polio and measles. Due to the work of vaccines, these once common diseases are now a rarity.
Many statistics are being kept to track the work of vaccines, and these numbers are showing just how effective standardized vaccines are. The measles virus is one such example. the World Health Organizations, as well as the Measles and Rubella Initiative, have estimated that as many as 17.1 million lives have been saved due to the measles vaccine’s use. In particular, in the year 2000, 546,800 deaths occurred due to the measles virus, but by 2014, that figure had dropped to 114,900, which is a substantial 79% decrease. With this and other vaccines at work around the world, and estimated 2.5 million unnecessary deaths are prevented annually.
As mentioned above, children receive vaccines to protect their young and developing immune systems from deadly diseases and prepare them for adulthood, and older Americans may get vaccines to update their previous inoculations. Meanwhile, elderly Americans may get vaccines since crowded nursing homes and retirement homes allow diseases to spread fast among unvaccinated individuals. All of these vaccines need proper storage, so modern hospitals and laboratories will have the right lab refrigerator units and freezers to contain them.
As mentioned earlier, vaccines are delicate and sensitive to temperature, so they must be stored in the correct units to protect them. Commercial cooling units such as freezers or fridges may be inadequate, however, since they are designed to store food and drinks rather than delicate vaccines. These units may have an unacceptably wide variance of internal temperature as they are opened and closed, and that could harm vaccines being stored inside. Instead, the staff of a lab or hospital will visit the online catalogs of wholesalers who offer medical grade freezers and lab refrigerators, which are indeed rated for storing delicate vaccines and similar items. Some of these cooler units will maintain an internal temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit, as per regulations, to some vaccines. Freezers may have a temperature ranging from -58 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit, and these are ideal for frozen vaccines. What is more, buyers should keep storage space and needs in mind, and clear away floor space for a larger unit or counter space for a smaller fridge or freezer. A purchased cooler should not be too large or too small for vaccine storage.