There are many differences between a standard fridge and a medical grade refrigerator which we explore in more detail below
If you work in the healthcare industry, the chances are you will need to use and administer medicines and vaccines as part of your day to day job.
These vaccines must be kept in the “cold chain” from the moment of manufacture to the moment they are administered to the patient.
This includes while being transported from the factory where they are made to healthcare facilities and also while they are being stored at the medical practice before being used.
This is to make sure the medicine or vaccine is kept at the temperature required to ensure that it is safe to administer to patients.
Of course, medicines and vaccines cannot be stored in standard fridges or be kept alongside items such as food and drink. They must be kept in dedicated medical fridges.
There are several reasons for this, which we discuss below:
Accurate temperature control:
The majority of medicines and vaccines must be stored within the temperate range 2Oc and 8Oc in order to maintain the cold chain during transportation and storage.
This is a relatively small temperature range and only medical grade refrigerators can accurately and reliably maintain these temperatures.
To monitor temperatures, medical grade refrigerators are usually fitted with state-of-the-art thermometers that record the temperature inside the vaccine as well as the fridge unit.
Standard fridges simply cannot provide such controlled temperatures, nor do their thermometers provide the levels of accuracy that medical grade refrigerators offer.
Alarms that sound if temperatures fall out of range:
Dedicated medical fridges also come with alarms that sound if the temperature falls outside of the required range. This is vital to ensure that vaccines do not become damaged or spoiled.
This is because alarms allow healthcare practitioners to respond instantly in the event the temperate falls below or rises above the required range and can take actions to protect medicines.
While it is possible for the cold chain to be broken and for vaccines to still be safe to use, it is much better for them to remain in the cold chain at all times.
Only medical grade refrigerators offer these alarms which is why healthcare practices and practitioners across the UK are required to use them.
Glass door or solid door:
Medical grade refrigerators come with additional features that can further assist healthcare practitioners in their work. One such option is a glass door.
Glass door medical fridges allow practitioners to easily see inside the fridge and determine the vaccines and medicines that are inside and the level of stock they have.
This means that the fridge does not need to be opened unnecessarily which in turn helps to maintain that all important temperature range.
Medical fridges can also be purchased with a solid door which has the advantage of providing additional security as it is not possible to see what it is inside.
This is in addition to the standard security features that medical grade refrigerators come with.
Medicines and vaccines are expensive and can be subject to theft. For this reason, medical fridges come with security measures such as a lock to prevent unauthorised access.
Of course, this not only prevents theft but also ensures that the medial fridge is not opened by accident by a healthcare practitioner or someone else.
While a standard fridge and a medical grade fridge may seem similar at first glance, in reality they are very different products and only a dedicated medical fridge should be used to store vaccines.