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Vaccine carrier, New Delhi, India, 1994

Vaccine carrier, New Delhi, India, 1994

Credits: Science Museum

Vaccines need to be kept below certain temperatures to remain effective. To prevent them from spoiling when being transported over long distances and in hot climates, a ‘cold chain’ system is established. This refers to the various means by which the vaccine is kept cool – from when it leaves the laboratory to when it is needed for use. This cold box was developed to allow the transport of vaccines in areas lacking the electrical supply needed for more conventional refrigerators. Made by Inalsa Ltd in India, this carrier was approved for use in the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) run by UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Fund) and the WHO (World Health Organisation). The EPI aims to vaccinate the world’s children against the biggest childhood killers, such as measles. When the programme was launched in 1974, fewer than five per cent of children were vaccinated. Today that figure is eighty per cent.

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    Glossary: vaccination

    The introduction of vaccine into the body for the purpose of inducing immunity. Coined originally to apply to the injection of smallpox vaccine, the term has come to mean any immunising procedure in which vaccine is injected.

    Glossary: cool box

    An insulated container for keeping food cool.