Knowing Where and How to Store Vaccines


Ever since their invention in the late 1700s, vaccines have proven highly effective at preventing the spread of deadly viruses, and thanks to vaccines, some diseases have practically become a thing of the past. Smallpox, for example, is extinct outside of some lab samples, and measles and polio are scarce. Vaccines are highly effective, but they are also surprisingly fragile, so medical professionals at a lab or a hospital are urged to have the right ways to store them. A vaccine refrigerator, for example, is a type of medical freezer for storing vaccines until needed. A medical freezer may vary in size and shape, and different models may be better for a user based on the amount of material that they have to store. A medical fridge freezer can be very useful for vaccines that require a very low, stable temperature. Other times, a medical freezer may be used for storing lab samples. A lab refrigerator may store other samples or vaccines that don’t need quite such a low temperature. Buying the right medical freezer is always a major responsibility for any lab or hospital staff.

Vaccines Then and Now

Vaccines have been fighting disease for over 200 years now. They were first developed by a certain Mr. Edward Jenner, who in 1796 created what he called the “arm-to-arm” inoculation method. This revolutionary medical procedure involved extracting a blister sample from someone infected with cowpox and transferring it to another person’s skin. This trained the recipient’s immune system against smallpox, as Mr. Jenner intended, and this method against smallpox spread quickly. By the 1940s, large-scale vaccine production began for the first time, and these vaccines were geared to combat the most common diseases of the time. This included smallpox, tetanus, whooping cough, and diphtheria. And more vaccine types have been developed ever since, fighting off an ever-growing list of viruses and afflictions. The polio virus, for example, could cripple a person, and president Franklin D. Roosevelt famously had to wear leg braces due to his infection of the virus. Today, polio is all but extinct in the public health sphere.

Are these vaccines effective? Many studies and statistics show that indeed they are. The World Health Organizations (WHO), along with the Measles and Rubella Initiative have estimated that as many as 17.1 million lives have been saved by the measles vaccine since the year 2000, which is the population of a very large city or even a small nation. From 2000 to 2014, deaths from measles each year dropped from 546,800 down to 114,900, a massive 79% drop in fatalities. Overall, estimates show that as many as 2.5 million deaths are prevented every year from diseases of all kinds due to vaccinations and inoculations.

The Industry

Vaccines do not appear from nowhere. There is a sizeable industry for the development and distribution of these live-saving injections, such as lab technicians. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in the year 2016, a total of about 335,700 jobs for medical and clinical lab technician jobs existed in the United States. These jobs may also be known as “medical laboratory scientists.”

These lab workers need the right hardware for the job, and they will need more than just microscopes and centrifuges for the blood and tissue samples that they work with. A scientific freezer or a medical freezer must be present on-site to store lab samples and vaccines alike, since these are delicate items. Lab samples or vaccines may suffer if they are too warm, or if the temperature inside a freezer or fridge varies too much due to the door being opened and closed.

A commercial fridge or freezer unit may not work here. They are meant for food and alcoholic beverage storage, and those items can handle wide changes in temperature as the doors are opened and closed. But vaccines and tissue samples are more delicate, so a more specialized fridge or freezer with these items in mind should be bought and used. The staff at a hospital or research lab can look online at catalogs for a model and buy it, but the right one should be purchased. A small freezer might not have the room, or a large one may not fit in the premises.

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