Safer, more effective injections

About half of injections in the developing world are provided with unsterilized or reused needles. Initially intended to prevent or treat illnesses, these needles often place people at risk of infection. Needles also create a medical-waste challenge, especially in areas with limited resources. There is a clear need for needle-free injection alternatives that are affordable and safe.

To meet this need, PATH is working with several partners to advance “jet injectors” that use a high-pressure stream to penetrate the skin—no needle required. In 2008, we conducted jet-injector assessments with health care workers in Brazil and India and found that workers were interested in the technology’s potential and eager to offer valuable feedback.

We also explored intradermal delivery options, because some vaccines, when administered directly under the skin, may actually be protective at far smaller doses than currently used—possibly allowing vaccines in short supply to be spread further. We studied jet injectors’ effectiveness for rabies vaccine, supported trials to vaccinate infants and toddlers against influenza and polio, and collaborated with developers to plan for international regulatory approval. These efforts are paving the way for jet injectors’ inclusion in developing-country health programs and reduced use of contaminated syringes.


Biologics Consulting Group, Inc.

D’Antonio Consultants International, Inc.

Fundación Dominicana de Infectología de la Florida

Medical Device Consultants International Ltd.

PharmaJet, Inc.

Sustainable Business Development, LLC

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization

Photo: PATH/Jesse Schubert.

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Health worker drawing up vaccine from vial into injection device
Jet injectors and other innovative injection approaches may increase the safety and decrease the costs of traditional vaccination services.

This project received innovation funding at a critical point in its development.