There's no such thing as a safe and effective flu shot... but that hasn't stopped researchers from trying to find new ways to give it to more people just the same.
Now, they're working on poison in a patch -- a flu shot you can slap on yourself, no doctor or nurse necessary.
I can picture the public service announcements now: GO STICK YOURSELF!
Instead of the usual hypodermic needle, the flu patch described in Clinical and Vaccine Immunology is delivered via 100 tiny microneedles that dissolve as the vaccine enters your body.
In a study on mice, researchers say their new patch gave the rodents flu "immunity" on par with -- or better than -- the traditional vaccine injection.
Talk about setting the bar low -- the flu shot itself is only barely effective in the best of times, and completely ineffective the rest of the time.
I wouldn't brag about matching that.
The researchers say their do-it-yourself vaccinations will bring the shot to more people by doing away with the worst part of the experience: the needle.
But who are they kidding? The worst part of the shot isn't the sting of the needle -- it's what's inside it, because these vaccinations can leave you in a world of hurt whether you feel that prick or not.
Ordinary flu shots come with a risk of fever, rash, hives and seizures. What's more, most of them contain the dangerous toxin mercury.
If that's not bad enough, all you need to do is look at what happened during last year's mass public health experiment: Patients given the swine flu vaccine passed out, got sick and even dropped dead.
And in addition to all the usual flu shot risks, the new patch comes with a bonus: The microneedles are made of polymer polyvinylpyrrolidone, or PVP. An allergic reaction to PVP can lead to anaphylactic shock.
So whether it's delivered in a needle, patch, bubble gum or kick to the head, do yourself a favor -- and skip the vaccine.