Only masochists, sadists, and acupuncturists enjoy shots, so researchers at Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a way to deliver a vaccine without having to watch a nurse jab a needle into your muscle. The new technology? A stick-on patch, no needle required.
The patch, which looks a little bit like if a Band-Aid were created by that guy from Saw, is a simple bandage with microneedles sticking out of it that deliver the vaccine into the uppermost layers of the skin, the BBC reports. It’s a supposedly painless way to deliver an effective dose of the vaccine with minimal side effects, according to the researchers’ study, as described in the Lancet.
The patch has several advantages over typical flu vaccines. First, it’s not a needle, and is easy enough for people to do themselves if the FDA approves it. And it doesn’t need to be refrigerated, so pharmacists can just keep it on their shelves. While more clinical trials are needed before the patches are widely available, Nadine Rouphael of Emory University told the BBC that her team “could envisage vaccination at home, in the workplace, or even via mail distribution.”
This innovative technique could encourage more people to get immunized. If you can’t be bothered to get a flu shot, let John Oliver remind you why vaccines are both safe and a good idea for anyone who enjoys being a member of a healthy society.