The quality of vaccines is of utmost importance to the public. In order to establish a safe and reliable method for getting vaccines to the people that need them, all factors of delivery must be taken into account, from production to administration. A vital step in this process is the storage of these vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has outlined steps to ensure that the quality of vaccines is maintained and stored according to a specific standard. One of the most important aspects of vaccine storage involves a vaccine refrigerator, specifically designed for vaccines that need to be stored at a certain temperature.
Power outages are a primary concern. Facilities without significant backup power systems run the risk of losing vaccines to erratic changes in temperature that can damage the integrity of the vaccine. When this happens, the vaccines can lose their effectiveness altogether. For the sake of example, the BFRV84 will be used as a model of how a vaccine refrigerator should optimally work.
The design of the medical fridge itself is the most important. An upright fridge may appear convenient for access, but is a poor design for maintaining an internal temperature. This is because when the door is opened, colder (and thus heavier) air can escape. The alternative to this, as shown in the BFRV84, is a chest style design. This way when the door is opened, the cold air remains in the container (it has no side or bottom routes for escape). This is vital when placing or removing vaccines to and from the fridge.
This helps to keep temperature constant for longer, but doesn't address the long-term problem of a power outage. Keeping a backup power supply is important in order to maintain the cool environment and appropriate temperatures for vaccines. The BFRV84 vaccine refrigerator comes with a built in power supply that can last up to four days in case of an emergency.
Maintaining vaccines isn't just important for calculating costs and losses for medical practice, but for the health and safety of patients who need them. Choosing the right medical fridge can contribute to the longevity and efficacy of vaccines for the medical facilities that provide them to the public.