Mirconeedle Array. Courtesy of MIT News

Skin Patch Vaccine Administration Via Micro-needles Embeds Invisible Tattoo

As reported on April 3 by the Staten Islander News Organization, a vaccine that looks promising in the fight against COVID-19 has already been developed. (See: Needle-Less COVID-19 Skin Patch Vaccine Developed By U Pittsburgh Researchers)

The vaccine is administered in a novel way, directly through the skin, via a patch not unlike a Band-Aid, covered with microneedles.

This contrasts sharply with most traditional vaccines, which are usually administered via injection, though some also given via nasal spray, like the Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV), often known by its brand-name FluMist Quadrivalent, made by AstraZeneca.

Microneedle Array, Under Magnification. Image Credit- K.J. McHugh et al Science Translational Medicine

Microneedle Array, Under Magnification. Image Credit- K.J. McHugh et al Science Translational Medicine

Not mentioned in our recent article is another interesting feature of such microneedle vaccines, namely, the ability to store medical information under a patient’s skin, using a quantum dot dye injected under the skin with the microneedles.

In this way, a person could be quickly scanned to ascertain their vaccination status.

Quantum dots are very tiny crystals that reflect light and can only be seen by a machine, or cellphone app, that directs near-infrared light at the area where the dye had been injected.

Mirconeedle Array. Courtesy of MIT News

Mirconeedle Array. Courtesy of MIT News

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) bioengineering researchers Robert Langer and Ana Jaklenec developed this technology so that individuals could be quickly scanned to ascertain their vaccination status.

This could be applied to COVID-19 vaccination status checks at airports, railroads, sport events, and other places where many people are gathered closely.

It also dispenses with the need for paperwork or access to digital records, being the fastest method of ascertaining a person’s vaccination status.

This tattoo is invisible, and lasts for years.

Impossibly small, invisible dot patterns used for tracking are nothing new.

In fact, computer printers employ a similar watermarking system invisible to the naked eye.

This is how the the National Security Agency was able to track down disgruntled contractor Reality Winner for leaking state secrets a few years back.

Machine_Identification_Code_von_Druckern. Courtesy of Wikipedia

Machine_Identification_Code_von_Druckern. Courtesy of Wikipedia

Printers have a Machine Identification Code (MIC), also known as tracking dots, a digital watermark printed onto every page a printer prints.

Printer steganography also provides information as to when a document was printed, usually visible only under UV-light.

Of course, the key question remains whether vaccinating every person in the U.S. against COVID-19 is the best strategy for dealing with the pandemic.

Some issues confounding this are whether those exposed who develop antibodies would even need vaccination, and whether a vaccine might quickly become ineffective as COVID-19 mutates, as all viruses do with time.

Already, a new strain of the virus has appeared in Indian populations that present vaccination efforts might not be effective against.

This newly mutated strain features spike proteins that differ significantly from those that had been found on COVID spike proteins thus far.

The spike proteins are located on those arm-like protrusions of the virus, allowing it easy entry into the body’s cells, such as in the lungs.

The last issue concerns privacy. Medical records are protected data under U.S. HIPAA laws. Having vaccination status on someone’s arm, readable in public, creates quandaries regarding patient medical data privacy.

The is also a contingent of Internet users freaking out over this new technology, claiming the invisible tattoo too closely resembles the “mark of the beast” described in the Christian Bible, in the Book of Revelation.

Such claims are based on the fact that a person may be barred from public places if they’re unvaccinated and lacking the tattoo, and thus might be barred from buying and selling, just like the Bible describes.

However, it’s more likely that the new quantum dot tattoo would be used in public places like transportation hubs, not in the workplace or supermarket, where one might “buy and sell.”

And so, it’s really a stretch to think that a proof-of-vaccination tattoo is the mark of the beast, but fears and mistrust continue to spawn.

Even so, many online forums are rife with paranoid individuals frantic over this development.

The new quantum dot tattoo is actually most useful in areas of the world lacking sufficient medical services, the poorer regions of countries in Africa, and Asia, for example, where medical record-keeping is spotty.

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