Give yourself the flu vaccine?

March 20, 2011 6:25:35 AM PDT
For some people, getting a flu shot can be a traumatizing experience, especially children.

That's why researchers at Georgia Tech and Emery University are collaborating on a more patient-friendly way to vaccinate.

"It's just a patch that gets applied to the skin and the fact that there are some microscopic needles on there is not evident to the patient," said Dr. Mark Prausnitz.

"They are so small that you cannot even feel them on the skin," said Dr. Ionna Skountzou.

The researchers say it's not only painless but, studies show, the patch is also more effective than a traditional shot because the vaccine goes in the skin, not muscle.

That's because the body recognizes it differently and the immune response that is made is a better response.

So far studies have focused on metal patches where the microneedles are "coated" in the flu vaccine. When you put it on, the vaccine dissolves into the skin. However, the ultimate goal is to make a polymer patch where the needles also dissolve.