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A new dissolving microneedle patch may help improve vaccination efforts against influenza compared with traditional needles. This method of vaccination may also allow people without medical training to easily and safely administer the vaccine.

The new vaccination patch is made up of hundreds of microscopic needles that dissolve into the skin. This may potentially simplify immunization programs by eliminating the use of hypodermic needles—and their “sharps” disposal and re-use concerns. “We have shown that a dissolving microneedle patch can vaccinate against influenza at least as well, and probably better than, a traditional hypodermic needle,” says Mark Prausnitz, a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

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Microneedle flu patch

If mass-produced, the microneedle patches may lower the overall cost of immunization programs by reducing personnel costs and waste disposal requirements. While a promising alternative to traditional flu shots, further clinical studies are required to assure safety and effectiveness of this new vaccination delivery system.