How Zydus Cadila's needle-free Covid jab for kids works

At Bengaluru trial site, a peek into how Zydus Cadila's needle-free Covid-19 vaccine for kids works

The PharmaJet needle-free injector uses a narrow stream of fluid that goes through the skin in about 1/10th of a second

The PharmaJet special applicator gun used to administer the ZyCoV-D vaccine. Credit: DH Photo/Pushkar V

As India nears the rollout of ZyCoV-D, the world's first DNA-based, needle-free Covid vaccine for individuals aged 12 years and above, one Bengaluru trial site gave the low-down on how the much talked about jab works.

Manufactured by Ahmedabad-based pharma company Zydus Cadila, ZyCoV-D, a three-dose vaccine, is administered intradermally using a special applicator gun, which can be used for giving 20,000 shots.

The PharmaJet needle-free injector uses a narrow stream of fluid that goes through the skin in about 1/10th of a second. The device, about the size of a stapler, is used to administer 0.1 ml of the vaccine dose on either arm during each of the three visits. 

The Union health ministry has reportedly already started training vaccinators for administering the jab.

Also Read | Centre says needle-free ZyCoV-D to be introduced in Covid vaccination drive shortly

Apollo Hospital, Jayanagar, NRR Hospital, Hesarghatta, and KIMS Medical College Hospital, Banashankari, were part of the ZyCoV-D clinical trials.

Pulmonologist Dr Ravindra Mehta, who is in charge of the trial site at Apollo, said the device has three main components: an injector, syringe and filling adapter. The injector consists of an activation button, inner core housing, hammer, eject button, safety button, handles and a latch button. 

The syringe has a cap, barrel, plunger and a fill line. The first step in the workflow is to prepare the injector.

When the injector is in an 'uncharged' state (meaning the injector hammer is protruding forward), and the handles are closed, the handles are opened to prepare the injector. The rear injector latch button is pressed to allow the injector handles to open freely. 

Also Read | Vax for kids: BBMP begins preparations

With the handles fully open, they're squeezed until they close and are locked in place. Once they're closed, the hammer is in 'charged' state. After the syringe is filled, it is inserted along with the vial assembly into the inner core housing of the charged injector until it clicks into place. 

"After removing the filling adapter and vial from the syringe, the forefinger is used for pressing the injector safety button. While holding the safety button, the syringe is pressed perpendicularly to the arm. As long as you keep pressure on the patient, it is not necessary to hold the safety button," said Mehta, demonstrating its use. 

To inject, the activation button is pressed. A click is heard upon injection. The syringe is then removed from the injector by pressing the eject button. "It's sterile, disposable and cannot be reused. It's also easy to train and helps people with needle-phobia," he said.

Check out latest DH videos here

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox