Someday Kids Might Be Able to Get All Their Vaccines in a Single Shot

We’re extremely lucky that we live in a world with vaccines. In my personal experience, not getting polio is pretty darn fantastic. That said, getting shots really sucks, especially for little kids. Well, some new technology means it might soon be possible for kids to get all their vaccinations in one single shot, and that would be so much more comfortable for everybody involved.

As fortunate as we are to have access to vaccines, it still sucks to hold a baby or toddler as tight as possible so the doctor can give the shot. It’s gutting to see that little face crumple up and howl. Intellectually, we know we’re doing the best thing for them, but it still doesn’t feel great. And as for the kids, they don’t understand what’s going on. They just know someone’s hurting them. It goes away quickly, but it’s still not great.

One shot, no boosters

According to Romper, new technology being developed at MIT would make it possible to give all a kid’s vaccinations in one single shot. The way it works is that the various vaccines would be encased in polymer “microparticles” that MIT describes as looking like “tiny coffee cups.” Those microscopic capsules are designed to break apart at different times. That means an initial dose and its booster could be administered at the same time. Nobody would have to go back and get another shot.

For parents who have full access to vaccines now, the main benefit of that would be not having to give kids multiple shots. It would also eliminate the problem of missed shots. Not finishing a vaccine sequence is a huge problem, and a surprising number of parents do it. If the vaccinations were given all at once, nobody would have to worry about forgetting a follow-up appointment ever again.

In places without access to vaccines, this could make a huge difference. A lot of kids in the world rarely see a doctor. This would mean kids only need to see the doctor once to get all their immunizations.

The technology is still in development.

The technology is still in development, of course. It’s working well on mice, but there are a lot of concerns to address before it goes forward in humans. Scientists need to make sure the vaccines stay stable in the body before being released from their capsules, for one thing.

Another issue is that if a vaccine were administered that way, all the following doses are released automatically on schedule. A person couldn’t adjust the release schedule if, for example, a kid came down with a viral infection the week the vaccine was supposed to release.

It’s still a hugely interesting prospect with a ton of global health potential. It will be interesting to see what happens with it in the coming years.

What do you think of getting all the vaccines in one shot? Let us know in the comments.

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(Image: iStockPhoto)

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