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Guide to choosing the right vaccine fridge/freezer

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Alex Henderson

Aston Business School graduate who has been the Managing Director of Henderson Biomedical since January 2015. Passionate about helping laboratories keep their vital equipment operational and compliant. Architecture enthusiast, fitness fanatic and dog lover!

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Earlier this week, we learnt that a COVID-19 vaccine had been developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Preliminary tests show that it can prevent over 90% of people from getting COVID-19. This was obviously met with great jubilation. However, question marks remain over how a vaccine can be rolled out to literally millions of people across the world in such a short space of time. The sheer logistics of getting a vaccine rolled out to the general population is a daunting and complicated task.

One of the key elements of distribution is to have adequate storage of the vaccine at the right temperature. This could mean that distribution centres, hospitals and GP surgeries will require additional fridges and freezers.

In this blog, we will take a look what factors you need to consider when buying a vaccine fridge/freezer. A similar blog was written back in September 2016, which is also worth a read if you are thinking of buying a new fridge/freezer for your laboratory.

Critical factors to consider when purchasing a vaccine fridge/freezer

Capacity and space are two of the most important factors when choosing a vaccine fridge/freezer. Most manufacturers talk about capacity in terms of litres. This can sometimes be a bit difficult to visualise, so it is better to just work with the internal dimensions. This is usually found in the manufacturer’s product brochure. If you know the approximate size of the box the vaccine will come in, you can get a pretty good idea as to how many will fit inside your vaccine fridge/freezer. This will determine the overall size of your vaccine fridge/freezer.

Another factor that may have a bearing on the size of vaccine fridge/freezer you purchase is of course workspace. The internal dimensions may be limited by how much space you actually have in the laboratory. Many laboratories throughout the country are crammed with equipment already, meaning that a particular size may have to be purchased just because the empty space in the lab dictates those dimensions.

What temperature range should I choose for my vaccine fridge/freezer?

This will depend on who you are. If you are a company that is distributing the COVID-19 vaccine, it is likely that you will need a freezer capable of reaching temperature as low as -70°C. However, if you are a GP actually administering the COVID-19 vaccine to the general population, you are likely to need a fridge that has a temperature range between 2°C and 8°C.

You should also pay close attention to the manufacturer’s specifications and check that fridge/freezer will not only reach this temperature, but also be controllable. Do not be tempted to buy a cheap domestic fridge/freezer. More information on why domestic fridges and freezers are no good for a laboratory setting can be found here.

Other considerations to take into account

You may also want to consider what optional extras are available for your vaccine fridge/freezer. For example, do you require a glass or solid front, castors so you can move it around, or a lockable door? How many shelves do you want? Do you require the device to monitor the temperature of your vaccine and alert you if the temperature exceeds pre-defined thresholds? Think carefully about what you and other users will want before making a decision.

How Henderson Biomedical can help

Henderson Biomedical is a supplier of laboratory grade fridges and freezers ideal for storing vaccines. We are an authorised distributor of Vestfrost, Labcold and Gram and can offer extremely competitive prices on these brands. Furthermore, we can provide ongoing maintenance and calibration of your vaccine fridge/freezer for many years to come. Finally, we can also provide WiFi data loggers from our partner Eupry. These data loggers can be used to wirelessly monitor the temperature of your vaccine fridge/freezer or indeed the ambient temperature of a storage room.

For more information on how we can help you, please contact our team on 020 8663 4610 or alternatively, you can email us at info@henderson-biomedical.co.uk.

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