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A potentially new way of getting vaccinated against COVID-19, without the jab in the arm

Experts say it will likely be next year when an approved nasal spray immunization is available to be widely distributed.

SAN ANTONIO — Move over, coronavirus vaccine jabs. New immunizations are being developed, including one that's needleless. 

This COVID-19 vaccination would instead be squirted up the nose as a nasal spray. A nationwide trial testing its efficacy is happening right here in San Antonio, at the Clinical Trials of Texas.

Chief Medical Director Dr. Douglas Denham said this immunization is not like the typical one, where you are getting an injection. CTT has been part of several vaccine studies and is helping conduct this one as well.

"It just involves a spray on each side of the nostril," Denham said. "Right now, (in) the current study, we are looking at the effectiveness of one time versus two times."

Denham said the company Altimmune is known for its nasal sprays and has one out on the market for the flu. The drug company just started its COVID-19 vaccine phase one trail.

"It is designed to create the antibodies and create immune cells in the nasal passages, and respiratory passages that will then encounter the COVID virus and illicit a reaction to protect you."

Denham said while they just started the study, there are perks. It would not require refrigeration storage, for one, and the side effects wouldn't be as severe as getting a shot.

"Maybe the folks that are afraid of getting the vaccine because of the side effects that we are hearing about, we are not seeing those in the side effects for the nasal vaccine," he said.

Father and current patient Nandakumar Thrikkassery said he is glad to be part of the study.

"I didn't feel anything much different," he said. "I feel pretty OK. And I was thinking, if this one becomes successful it would help young children."

Denham said it is going to be awhile before the vaccination potentially reaches the stage of public distribution; possibly 2022. 

CTT is still looking for participants between 18 and 55 years of age who haven't had the coronavirus or received the vaccine. If you qualify, you'll get paid for your participation.