The Institute for Vibrant Living natural health research team has looked into a promising new vaccine delivery technology. Here is their report:
Are you a trypanaphobe? In case you are unsure, a trypanaphobe is a person who has a livid fear of injections, and it actually affects many people on different levels.
The fear of needles piercing the skin can have a serious physical effect on the sufferer's heart rate and blood pressure - leading to fainting, panic attacks, sweating and even ringing in the ears!
A New Day Is Dawning
Now, all that may be a relic of the past as scientists have developed a new method of administering vaccines – through a skin patch.
Instead of administering a jab through one long metal needle, the patch has around 300 micro needles which hold and administer the vaccine and dissolve painlessly into the skin themselves.
The microneedles penetrate just 0.5mm into the skin (or about half the thickness of a nickel turned on its side) and there is no pain and no bleeding.
So far, studies on mice have shown that the method is just as effective as the conventional needle vaccination method.
This new technology could obviate the need for vaccines to be administered by a medical professional. Patients themselves could administer the vaccine, as could non-medically trained people, which would be useful especially in disaster-stricken areas of the world.
In addition, a skin patch vaccine would not have to be refrigerated (a problem in developing countries) and there would be less medical waste, such as disposing of used syringes, researchers said.
It could even open up a new market for vaccinations by mail order! It would simplify vaccination programs in schools and assisted living facilities.
Interestingly, the new patch costs about the same to produce as the conventional needle and syringe but would save money as medical staff would no longer be required to administer it.
Although other needleless methods have been experimented with, such as tablets dissolving under the tongue and jets forcing medicine through the skin under pressure, the new patches seem to be the most effective method to date.
As one professor of Microbiology and Immunology at a well-known medical school put it, "The skin is a particularly attractive site for immunization because it contains an abundance of the types of cells that are important in generating immune responses to vaccines."
While most of us aren't extreme trypanaphobes, we certainly don't enjoy injections of any sort. And when you stop to think about it - if we just take care of our health and wellness properly - we will be exposed to less of these sqeamish moments anyway!
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So hopefully in the near future, when flu vaccinations are recommended, perhaps they will no longer involve fear OR a doctor's appointment OR a needle jab - it could be as easy and painless as applying a Band-Aid!