Everyone knows that vaccines save lives. By preventing and controlling diseases such as measles, smallpox, whooping cough, tetanus, and others, they annually prevent over 2.5 million deaths across the world. But their storage is just as important as their use, which means that the medical refrigerators and freezers are essential to making sure they save lives. They ensure the vaccines can make a difference to those who need them most.
Vaccines are by no means a new way to prevent disease, nor are they going to be going away anytime soon. Mass producing vaccines started in the 1940s and have only gained support and funding since then. In 2014, the CDC in the United States estimated that vaccines would prevent more than 21 million hospital visits and over 730,000 deaths among children. And even today, almost 25 million children around the world don’t have the same access to vaccines and other forms of disease prevention. And the cold storage process helps to keep the vaccines potent so that they can do their job.
So how does the process work? There are two ways to store the doses effectively. Similar to pharmacy freezers that store your prescriptions, they’re either put into cold storage or frozen in medical refrigerators and freezers respectively. Medical freezers are designed to be used for this kind of storage. There are combination appliances as well, but it’s discouraged to mix the vaccine storage because the CDC has recommended temperature ranges for both types of storage and it can be hard to make sure both parts of the unit are within that range. And on that same note, there are a series of steps to follow to ensure they keep that ideal temperature range. The CDC recommends storing the vaccines at the ideal temperatures by placing them in the appropriate medical refrigerators and freezers. Then regularly check the temperature every morning and whenever you open the fridge or freezer. Every time the storage unit is opened, the surrounding air can affect the temperature of the vaccines.
So while the vaccines are incredibly important to worldwide health initiatives, the vaccine refrigerators or freezers used by medical professionals are just as important to ensure that they make the impact. It’s easy to overlook this crucial part of the process, so now you know what goes on behind the scenes of these initiatives.