As important as flu vaccines are for our health and well-being, none of us really like the feeling of those pesky pokes. No matter how old we get, we have to admit that needles are not fun for most of us. But the way we get flu vaccines may be about to change forever.
A needle-free flu vaccine patch worked as well as a traditional needle vaccine shot with no serious side effects, researchers just reported. The team reported in the medical journal 'Lancet' that tests of participants' blood suggested the vaccine created about the same immune response of a regular flu shot. And folks who tried out the vaccine patch said it was not difficult or painful to use.
"It was really simple. It’s kind of like a Band-aid, almost,” said Daisy Bourassa, a college instructor who tested the new vaccine. “It’s not like a shot at all. If I had to describe, it is maybe like pressing down on the hard side of Velcro. It is like a bunch of little teeny tiny stick things that you can feel but it’s not painful.”
The team at Georgia Tech, and a spin-off company called Micron Biomedical, have been working on the vaccine patch for years. And this was their first time trying it out.
The results were great,” Dr. Nadine Rouphael of the Emory University School of Medicine said. “We were pleased to see that the immune response was excellent.”
It's important to note that this was just a phase 1 trial to show safety in 100 volunteers. It will take a much larger trial to show whether the vaccine actually prevents influenza.
But the hope is that the new vaccine patch will be cheaper, easier to give, and more acceptable than a traditional vaccine shot. How exciting if that does end up happening!