Scientists Are Working Toward A No-Needle Way To Get The Flu Vaccine

Photographed by Megan Madden.
If the thought of needles is enough to put you off getting a flu shot, you're in luck. Researchers have begun testing out a needle-free flu vaccine patch, the Los Angeles Times reports.
According to a report on the process, published in the Lancet, researchers tested the patch in a human clinical trial, and found that it is just as effective as your traditional flu shot.
The patch comes with 100 "microneedles" that deliver the vaccine when pressed into your arm. As small as the needles are, they're potent enough to hold a vaccine for three strains of the flu virus.
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100 microneedles may sound like a lot, but the clinical trial showed that they're small enough not to cause the same amount of pain a typical needle shot would.
For the trial, researchers at Georgia Tech randomly divided up 100 adult volunteers into four groups to be treated for the flu vaccine at the Emory Vaccine Center in Atlanta, Georgia. One group was treated for the flu with the patch by health care professionals, a second received the traditional needle flu shot, another received a placebo patch treatment, and the fourth administered the flu patch by themselves.
The results?
Researchers found that 96% of those who received the patch said they felt no pain, while 86% of those who got the needle shot said they felt no pain. When researchers followed up 28 days later, 70% of those who used the patch said that they preferred it over the traditional shot.
While researchers said that a larger trial would be needed to determine whether or not they can be distributed into wide use, their findings indicate that the flu shots of the future could be a little more accessible.
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