Imagine a world with no shots. You would still get the vaccines you need, just without the needle.
A promising new study by researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University could revolutionize the future of vaccination. It was published Wednesday in the journal The Lancet.
When it comes to needles, most of us have similar feelings.
“I don't like needles,” Jasmine Dotson said. “I don't like them.”
“It's like an anxiety thing,” added Cashane Vance, the mother of a three-year-old with another on the way. “I can't watch it. I'm not scared to get the shot, it's just more so getting the needle in.”
Some, like 8-year-old Myron Tate, are a little tougher.
“Not really that scared,” he said about getting shots, although it was a different story when he was four.
“People don't really like them and people hate giving them to their children,” noted Dr. Amy Edwards, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals.
An experimental vaccine patch is being tested on the flu vaccine, administering it through 100 dissolving "microneedles."
“I think it's brilliant,” remarked Dr. Edwards.
So far, the results have been great. In the 100 adults tested, there was no pain or side effects and it was just as effective as the traditional shot.
“One of the biggest advantages is that it doesn't have to be refrigerated, so ease of transport, ease of delivery,” explained Dr. Edwards. “And then it doesn't need to be administered by a health professional.”
That’s right -- you can administer it yourself.
“You could envision a world where even if you don't have health insurance, even if you can't make it to a doctors office, even if you live somewhere remote where you don't have access to a doctor, you could just slip this in an envelope and mail it,” Dr. Edwards said. “That could be really cool. Delivery in third world countries. I mean this could completely revolutionize vaccine access, which is pretty exciting.”
And the best part for moms like Vance? No needles.
“It would be nothing to fear if it's like putting a Band-Aid on,” she said.
More studies will have to be done on a larger scale, as well as with other vaccines. Still, Dr. Edwards calls this “a step in the right direction” toward changing the future of vaccination.