Traditionally, vaccinations are provided with a needle. However, this isn't the only method to administer vaccines. For instance, such vaccinations may be administered internally, like a drop on the tongue, or by a jet-like system.

DNA-based vaccines, like the COVID-19 vaccine being produced in Australia, is geared towards needle-free technology.

Needle-free vaccinations are appealing to those with needle phobias since they trigger less discomfort and tension. Yet they've got some advantages.

Coronavirus Pandemic Overwhelms Brazilian City Of Manaus
(Photo : Andre Coelho/Getty Images)
MANAUS, BRAZIL - MAY 21: An indigenous boy observes nurses while waiting for vaccination at Parque das Tribos community, on May 21 2020 in Manaus, Brazil. Medical teams from Healths Secretary of Manaus area performing vaccination against flu and testing to detect coronavirus (COVID-19) infecctions on indigenous communities.

Needle-Free COVID-19 Vaccine Might Be Possible

Scientists contend that there may be a needle-free COVID-19 vaccine. If this is so, many people who are frightened of needles would be supported by innovations.

The latest technology makes it more exciting for all persons who are willing to undergo the vaccine but do not wish to experience the inconvenience of having a shot.

"Fear of the needle is part of the reluctance for a full uptake of adult vaccines," said Rachel Skinner, a professor at the University of Sydney's Faculty of Medicine and Health per The Sydney Morning Herald

Skinner also clarified that apprehension of needles also impacts early childhood vaccine rates. She said it is often related to looking at the needle coming in.

Microarray Patch

Skinner is now the team chief that is researching the potential solution to the administration of needle vaccinations. The microarray patch is considered the latest technique.

The researchers expect that this breakthrough will eventually be able to prescribe influenza vaccines and the novel coronavirus.

More than 3000 micropredictions coated in a dry vaccine formula surround the microarray patch. The biocompatible polymer is a square centimeter that can be added to the skin using a disposable applicator.

It can infiltrate the exterior layer until it is on the skin's surface and rapidly administer the vaccine dosage to the cell layers directly below.

Needle-Free Candidates 

The patch is one of the University of Sydney's two needle-free inventions being trialed. The other is a jet spray system based on DNA developed by another local biotech business, Technovalia, that uses an air stream to deliver a vaccine to the skin.

To launch clinical trials using a "liquid jet" injector to administer the DNA vaccine, the University of Sydney recently obtained federal government support.

Liquid jet injectors utilize limited amounts of liquid (smaller than a human hair) pushed into a tiny crack. This ultra-fine stream of high pressure penetrates the skin where the vaccine is then soaked up by cells and immune cells are activated.

Needle-Free Injections And Beyond

The first injection devices without needles date back to 1866 and where experts administered vaccines through jet injectors. These portable instruments used pressure to reach the skin and supply medication.

In the middle of the 20th century, they were more common and were used to administer vaccines against typhus, polio, and smallpox. Jet injection has also been used to produce local anesthetic in dental treatments.

Oral vaccinations, including rotavirus, cholera, polio and typhoid, have been around for many decades. Jet injection are also used in different areas of the world today. 

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