Medical Technology Taking the Ouch Out of Flu Shots

It’s what everyone looks forward to this time of year: flu shots. No, wait? Not you? You’re not alone.

According to one online source, “needle phobia” is an actual medical condition affecting up to 23% of the population, which doctors and pharmacies are now taking more seriously.

One option for avoiding needles for flu shots is to get what’s called FluMist, an intranasal spray. This works well for some, but because it is made from a live virus, it comes with an increased risk of flu symptoms and is not an option for many more.

The good news for those who fall into that excluded category is that there is now a way to get a flu shot without actually being “stuck.” New delivery system technology has come into the market to deliver needle-free flu shots.

Medical technology takes ouch out of flu shots

This advance in medical technology isn’t just an advantage for consumers, either. According to OSHA, there are 600,000 – 800,000 needlestick injuries per year in the U.S. alone, so with the huge volume of flu shots given, this is a big plus for healthcare workers.

While jet injectors – which use a unique pressure profile to deliver vaccine as a fine stream of fluid to puncture the skin – have been around since the 1940’s, they have never been approved for use with the flu vaccine until now.

According to the PharmaJet website, the PharmaJet Stratis Needle-Free Injector is the first needleless intramuscular Jet Injector that is FDA approved for delivery of an influenza vaccine.

Since this has only recently been approved, it may be awhile before this medical technology is widely available in pharmacies and doctor offices, but it’s certainly something that will make the flu vaccine more widely adopted by many who need it each year.