The field of medicine has enjoyed a number of advances in the last 400 years or so. In the 1600s, the invention of microscopes allowed scientists to observe the world of the tiny, and in the 1800s, germ theory transformed the fight against infection. The same is true for vaccines, which have saved many lives against the spread of deadly viruses for over 200 years now. Vaccines can protect children and adults alike, and most hospitals today will have many vaccines on hand to administer to patients. But these vaccines, for all their power, are delicate. This means that a hospital or research lab’s staff will invest in pharmaceutical grade refrigerators, vaccine freezers, pharmaceutical freezers, and the like. These lab refrigerators can carefully control their temperature to protect vaccines inside, and they come in all shapes and sizes. What is there to know about pharmaceutical grade refrigerators and the history of vaccines as a whole?
Vaccines Then and Now
Vaccines date back further than many people may realize, and they have been saving lives ever since. Back in the year 1796, a man named Edward Jenner developed what he called the “arm to arm” inoculation method against disease, and he did this by extracting a tissue sample from the skin blister of a cowpox patient. Once he transferred this sample to a second patient, that second patient’s immune system was trained to recognize and fight viruses of that sort. This early vaccine model proved a success, and it could protect many people from cowpox and smallpox. Over the decades, vaccines continued to be used and refined, and by the 1940s, they entered mass production for the first time. Many of those vaccines were geared to fight common infections of the time, such as Diphtheria, whooping cough, smallpox, and tetanus. By now, vaccines can also protect patients from Polio and measles.
Many studies and statistics show how effective vaccines are today. For example, the WHO and the Measles and Rubella Initiative have stated that ever since the year 2000, nearly 17.1 million lives have been protected due to the measles vaccine. In particular, the yearly number of fatalities due to measles has dropped from 548,000 in 2000 down to 114,900 in 2014, a 79% decrease overall. And speaking more broadly, vaccines of all sorts save nearly 2.5 million lives around the world every single year.
Who gets vaccines? Everyone should get routine shots against viruses, but babies and toddlers in particular will need them. Responsible parents will bring their young children to the doctor’s office for safe and routine shots of all sorts, and this will bolster the child’s growing immune system. In centuries past, many babies and children lost their lives to disease, but this is no longer so. Meanwhile, the elderly also need vaccines to update their immune systems, and this can help prevent the spread of disease in crowded nursing homes and senior retirement communities.
Storage Methods for Vaccines
As mentioned earlier, vaccines are powerful but also delicate, and they require specialized storage methods, such as pharmaceutical grade refrigerators. The staff at a hospital or research lab will need these4 pharmaceutical grade refrigerators and freezers in particular, since commercial cooling units aren’t designed with vaccines in mind. Ordinary, commercial freezers and fridges have a too-wide variance in temperature as their doors are opened and closed, which could ruin vaccines stored inside. But pharmaceutical grade refrigerators will more carefully regulate their internal temperatures. Buyers can find these units with online catalogs and order them from medical supply wholesalers. The buyers can even try out the secondary market to find discount, gently used models. It may be a good idea to look over those used models in person before buying them.
When buying these fridge and freezer units, the buyers should be sure to purchase a unit that fits their needs. A large lab or hospital can clear up enough floor space for a bigger model that holds many vaccines, but a cramped, small research lab won’t have the room. A smaller lab may instead find benchtop freezers or fridges, small and light enough to indeed sit on a counter. An under the counter cooler unit can save even more room in cramped confines, if need be.