Things to Consider When Buying Vaccine & Medicine Fridges

By: Yolanda Smith, MedicalSearch Writer
07 September, 2015

A refrigerator to store vaccine and medicines at the optimal temperature is essential to ensure the stability of the products. There are several different models available and not all are designed for the same purpose or with equal care.

Here are a few important considerations when buying a vaccine fridge.

Household or biomedical-grade

It is strongly recommended that a biomedical-grade fridge be used to store vaccines prior to use. This is due to the superior temperature regulation in comparison to the household model, which can vary greatly with airflow and other factors.

If cost is a strong limiting factor, a household grade fridge may be used although there are certain precautions that should be practiced. For example, the freezer component should be disabled to reduce cold airflow in the fridge. Additionally, storing water bottles inside the fridge can help to ensure the temperature does not become too cold.

Large or small

There are two main factors that may affect the choice of size: how much stock you will need to store and the space you have available.

It is essential that you have enough room inside the fridge to store all stock that needs to be kept cool, without crowding the area. Revisit your inventory over the last 12 months and calculate how much room you will need to store it. Make sure to allow for extra items to help stabilize the temperature, such as coolant packs in a freezer or water bottles in a fridge.

Additionally, finding the ideal fridge to fit the space you have available is important. Under-counter fridges are a compact solution and don't require a large space as they fit neatly underneath your existing benches.

Stand-alone or combined

Vaccine fridges can be designed as a stand-alone unit, or in combination with a freezer for medications or vaccines that need to be kept at cooler temperatures.

Keeping the two separate offers improved temperature regulation and reduced pressure on major mechanical components, such as the compressor and condenser. As refrigerated vaccines can become denatured and inactive if frozen, it can be beneficial to separate the two areas.

However, a combined model is preferable for a compact medical practice that does not have room for two separate units. Additionally, it can be more convenient to keep both in the same unit and also usually works out cheaper than two separate units.

New or used

Buying a new fridge is generally preferable, as it is more likely to be reliable and usually carries a lengthy guarantee for a period after purchase. However, for the budget-conscious medical practice, a quality used fridge can be a good investment to get the same results at a fraction of the price.

It's important to consider the vendor and establish trust in the equipment before committing to buy. You may be able to source a fridge via online vendors or from a manufacturer that stocks used or cosmetically damaged goods for a discount.