A research team at Georgia Institute of Technology recently reported their research on the development of a patch that could be used by consumers to self administer flu vaccine. The patch makes use of microneedles that are small enough to pierce the skin and deliver medication with minimal discomfort.
Previous attempts to create patches that deliver vaccine through absorption (similar to nicotine patches) have been unsuccessful. The researchers suggest that these patches will be more effective because they use actual needles to administer the vaccine. In the current study the patches were tested on mice. The needles pierced the skin and delivered the medication before dissolving.
The patch itself is reported as feeling a bit like sandpaper. Testers who received patches without any vaccine reported that it was a little uncomfortable but painless. The developers of the patch are hopeful that it will prove to be a safe and easy way for consumers to get their flu vaccine without having to schedule doctor or pharmacy appointments.