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Medical Refrigerators & Freezers

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What Is a Medical Refrigerator?

Manufactured with many of the same, durable refrigeration component as other commercial refrigerators, medical refrigerators are purpose-built units that precisely measure cabinet temperatures. Medical grade refrigerators and freezers are vital pieces of equipment for pharmacies, laboratories, hospitals, blood banks, government, and healthcare facilities. Most vaccines require very specific temperatures to remain viable. With this purpose in mind, a good medical refrigerator will meet guidelines set forth by the CDC, NIH, WHO and AAP for storing not only vaccines, but pharmaceuticals, blood, biologics, and medical products.

What Temperature Should My Medical Freezer Be?

The CDC recommends your medical refrigerator maintain temperature ranges between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F). Medical freezers should maintain temperatures between -50°C and -15°C (-58°F and +5°F).

What Should I Consider When Selecting a Vaccine Refrigerator?

  • Medical Refrigeration type: Each unit has specialized features that should meet their suitor’s primary needs. For example, a pharmacy may purchase an undercounter medical refrigerator designed to store only medications. Hospitals could choose a blood bank refrigerator or freezer to reserve plasma or blood donations at their correct temperature. Scientific institutions may request a laboratory refrigerator to stock vials that can hold samples at optimal conditions. When storing vaccines, you should only use units that comply with CDC guidelines.
  • Temperature & system monitoring: Temperature settings for medical refrigerators must be much more accurate and provide uniform temperatures to ensure product reliability and prevent vaccine waste. Rapid temperature recovery and stabilization should also be considered depending how often access will be needed. If a door is left ajar or cabinet temperatures fail to meet your pre-set tolerance parameters, the built-in alarm system should alert staff. Vaccines vary in temperature requirements and fluctuations in temperature can have a disastrous result on a vaccine’s effectiveness.
  • Construction type: Choose from extremely durable, solid door models, glass doors for quick viewing and product distinction, pass-thru’s, upright models or convenient undercounter units.
  • Power failure alarm: An emergency power failure alarm system could be one of the most critical assets that these units include. Choosing a unit that can alert you to system failures will allow your staff to act accordingly and prevent major loss.
  • Data analysis: Does your new system allow for features such as SD card data storage, digital data logger, temperature data storage, USB downloadable temperature history, and access to 3rd party monitoring?
  • Capacity & shelving: Choosing a vaccine storage unit should be performed with care. How much the unit can hold will be a big decision. A hospital or laboratory will likely have a much larger stock of vaccines and medicines to house. An undersized unit may cause overpacking if not carefully selected. Wire shelves, or shelves that are perforated with ventilation holes are great for promoting proper airflow. When searching medical refrigerators and freezers for your establishment, review of the CDC proper vaccine storage and handling guide can help aid in making a final decision.

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