A Guide to: Vaccine Fridges

When transporting and storing vaccines and medicines, it is essential that they are stored at a very specific temperature range to ensure they are safe to administer and use; this is also known as the cold chain.

To ensure that medications and vaccines are maintained at this specific temperature, they must be stored in dedicated medical fridges that are suitable for this job. 

In this complete guide to vaccine refrigeration we explain why this is, what happens if vaccines are not refrigerated properly and how to choose the right medical fridge to suit your needs.

Why do Vaccines and Medicines Need to be Stored in a Medical Fridge?

Vaccines and medicines must be kept in the cold chain from the minute they are produced to the moment they are administered to a patient.

This specific cold-chain temperature range is between +2°C and +8°C. To ensure that these medications do not fall out of this range, during transportation they can be stored in appliances such as a portable vaccine carrier and once they have arrived at their destination, a dedicated medical fridge. 

Vaccines must be refrigerated in order to ensure they are kept in these optimal conditions so that they are safe to administer to patients.

What Happens if Vaccines are Not Refrigerated Properly?

If vaccines are not refrigerated in optimal conditions and fall outside of their cold-chain range, the vaccines can then become damaged and spoiled beyond the point of use. If these vaccines then go on to be accidentally administered, this can endanger patients. but also cost money in damaged and wasted vaccines.

Damaged and wasted vaccines can also cost a substantial amount of money. So much so, that it was   that vaccine wastage during the COVID-19 pandemic cost up to £70 million, as a result of various reasons. 

If vaccines are not stored specifically in medical fridges, there can also be a risk of theft or loss. Unlike traditional, commercial fridges, medical fridges come with locks and security systems to ensure vaccines are protected against unwanted intruders.

Other Benefits of Storing Vaccines in a Medical Fridge

As mentioned above vaccines must be stored in a dedicated medical fridge as standard fridges cannot offer accurate temperature control that is required to store vaccines.

Medical fridges are built with state of the art thermometers that monitor, and log the internal temperature of the fridge, as well as the temperature of its contents to ensure that the vaccines and medications never fall out of their correct cold-chain range. 

Medical fridges are also fitted with alarms that will sound when the internal temperature rises above, or below the required cold-chain range. This allows healthcare practitioners to quickly intervene before any vaccines or medications can become damaged.

How to Choose a Medical Fridge

When choosing a medical fridge for vaccine refrigeration, these are some of the key factors you need to take into account:

What Size Medical Fridge Would you Like?

Medical fridges come in three standard sizes: small, medium and large.

Small fridges can often fit under desks and sit on countertops, while medium fridges are about the size of a domestic dishwasher. This makes them easy to fit seamlessly into a small surgery or pharmacy.

Alternatively, large medical fridges are free standing and can take up a lot of space. This makes them a great options if you have the luxury of space, for example in a laboratory

Ultimately, the size of fridge required will hugely depend on how many vaccines you need to store and the space available for the unit. 

Do you Want a Solid Door or Glass Door Medical Fridge?

Medical fridges typically come with a solid door or glass door. The former provides a little added security for your fridge contents as the door is completely opaque. The latter, however, allows you to see what vaccines are being stored without having to open the door and risking the contents falling out of the cold-chain.

What is your Budget?

The amount you have to spend on your medical fridge will also impact the unit you are able to purchase.

Here at CoolMed, our small medical fridges start from £349.99 +VAT, medium medical fridges from £499.99 +VAT and large medical fridges from £649.99 +VAT.

All medical fridges come with a 5-year parts and labour warranty included as standard. This can be increased to cover 7 years for just £99.

Get in Touch!

This complete guide to vaccine refrigeration should tell you everything you need to know about why vaccines must be stored in optimal conditions, and as a result be stored in a specialist medical fridge unit.

If you have any questions or would like to know more, please contact a member of the CoolMed team here