Nations worldwide are now scrambling to find staff to administer COVID-19 vaccinations amid a shortage of front-line medical workers.

But new research from Japan shows that people may one day be able to vaccinate themselves against maladies — from the coronavirus to the flu — simply by applying a patch to their skin that allows the vaccine to be absorbed into the body quicker than with conventional medical patches.

In a study published in Nature Communications, a British scientific journal, in January, Matsuhiko Nishizawa, a professor at Tohoku University, and his research team developed a "biobattery-powered microneedle patch" that allows a vaccine to be absorbed faster than with the patches currently available commercially.