It's a childhood fear, and dread that continues well into adulthood. A Japanese researcher has given you a big reason to smile by developing a painless new vaccine delivery technique.
Kanji Takada, a professor of pharmacokinetics (the study of the absorption, distribution and fate of substances delivered to the human body) has created a round vaccine "chip" measuring a mere 1.5 cm in diameter, containing 300 micro needles, each 0.5 mm long and 0.3 mm wide. The device is capable of delivering drugs to the body without breaking the skin's dermis.
The chip penetrates just 0.5 millimetres when the needles dissolve administering the vaccine. According to Prof Takada, the patient feels no pain and there is no bleeding.
"The patch can be used to deliver any type of vaccine and people are not frightened of having the injection because they feel nothing at all," the Telegraph quoted Prof Takada of Kyoto Pharmaceutical University, as saying.
He took six years to come up with the new injection system.
Some other researchers had also tried using microneedles made out of sugar but these degraded at temperatures above 100 degrees centigrade, said Prof Takada.
Prof Takada used a water-soluble polymer instead of sugar. This polymer dissolves when pressed into the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, releasing the vaccine into the circulatory system.
Prof Takada's new drug delivery device could be available in Japanese hospitals by 2012.