Scared of needles? The anti-flu patch could be a shot in the arm for needle-phobes

A patch has been developed which could replace traditional flu jabs.

A vaccination syringe as a patch has been developed which could replace traditional flu jabs. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

The new technology could lead to people immunising themselves against flu at home and would reduce dangerous waste from hypodermic needles.

The patch looks like a plaster and is worn by patients for 20 minutes on the wrist while microneedles which contain the immunisation dissolve.

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It was subject of a study published in the Lancet of 100 people in the United States with 70% preferring the patch to a traditional injection.

Dr Nadine Rouphael, associate professor of medicine at Emory University and lead author of the study, said: "Despite the recommendation for adults and children to receive a flu shot, many people remain unvaccinated.

"Dissolvable microneedle patches could potentially simplify the delivery of influenza vaccines.

"The patch could ... be safely applied by participants themselves, meaning we could envisage vaccination at home, in the work place, or even via mail distribution.

"These advantages could reduce the cost of the flu vaccine and potentially increase coverage."

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