Dear Dr. K;

Dear Dr. K;

I recently read something about micro needles and vaccines.  Is that anything similar to my getting my flu shot intradermally?

Actually yes, it is.  As you know, the traditional and standard way to administer most vaccines (including Covid) is intramuscular; that is, injecting the vaccine fluid into a muscle.  The vaccine is then processed by migratory immune cells in the blood vessels and lymph system.  Obviously, this method works well. 

But the dermis of our skin actually contains 1,000 times the density of immune cells than our muscle.  This leads to a much more efficient response by our immune system.  An individual gets an as good or better antibody response by “skin vaccination” and it requires a smaller volume of the vaccine material. 

Until the advent of micro needle research, the only other way to do this was by a single needle intradermally: aka your flu shot.  3D printing has allowed the production of micro-needles.  The chip itself is about the size of a small fingernail and contains 60 tiny needles on one side.  The vaccine material is applied to these tiny pain-free needles and dried.  So, all that needs to be done is to press the small chip against the skin for a minute and then remove it.  Current research using this technique has led to a 50-fold increase in antibodies compared to intramuscular dosing. 

Since the vaccine is dry and “pre-loaded” it could be mailed to our homes and self-administered.

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