What if you could avoid the pain and hassle of the annual flu shot by choosing a vaccine infused patch? That’s right, say goodbye to big needles and hello to the stick-on flu vaccination.
The new, convenient patch looks similar to a Band-Aid and its benefits are numerous. One side of the patch resembles a regular bandage, while the other holds a tiny grid of 100 cone-shaped microneedles. The vaccine is stored in the microneedles, which is approximately half a millimeter in height. Most importantly, the patch is administered by being pressed onto the back of the wrist, where microneedles push through the outer layer of skin and are able to dissolve.
Unlike other vaccines, the patch does not need to be refrigerated and can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Additionally, the patch does away with the issue of safe needle disposal. This indicates the future of vaccination might be as easy as buying an over the counter kit from your local drug store.
Photo by Daniel Paquet/Flickr CC BY 2.0
In studies conducted so far, people who have been given the patch reported the same mild side effects associated with the flu vaccine in shot form. These symptoms include nausea, fatigue, and headache. But, the pain of a shot was not involved, so it sounds like a win to us.
The user-friendly appeal of the patch is expected to boost U.S vaccination rates and the hope is that it will grant more people access to vaccination, including people in developing countries.
As more research is conducted, the patch vaccination method will not end with the flu vaccine. In fact, researchers are hoping to perform tests with a polio vaccination patch to aide the worldwide polio eradication effort.
Top Photo by PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay, CC0
Caitlin Phillips is a freelance writer spending her summer in Budapest, Hungary.