(HealthDay News) — China announced last week that the country has started giving its citizens a COVID-19 booster that can be inhaled through the mouth.

The new vaccine was distributed in Shanghai. A video appeared on Chinese state media, showing people holding a translucent white cup with a short nozzle to their mouths. Text accompanying the video said a person slowly inhaled the mist, held his breath for 5 seconds and was finished within 20 seconds, the Associated Press reported.

An inhaled vaccine could appeal to someone afraid of needles, and the concept of priming the area of the body where the virus often enters is another advantage, according to scientists. Vineeta Bal, MD, an immunologist in India, said large droplets would prime the mouth and throat. Small droplets would travel further into the body, the AP reported.

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The inhaled vaccine was developed by CanSino Biologics, a Chinese biopharmaceutical company. It is an aerosol version of the company’s 1-shot adenovirus vaccine.

The inhaled vaccine was approved in September by Chinese regulators after completing trials in China, Hungary, Pakistan, Malaysia, Argentina, and Mexico, the AP reported. The vaccine was offered as a booster dose for people who had already received initial vaccines, according to an announcement posted on an official Shanghai social media account.

An earlier nasal vaccine, developed in the United States, has been approved by regulators in India but has not been distributed yet. It is licensed to Indian vaccine maker Bharat Biotech, the AP reported. Other nasal vaccines are being tested globally, according to the World Health Organization.

Associated Press Article