For many years, people with an egg allergy were told to avoid or take special precautions when getting a flu shot because most influenza vaccines are grown in eggs and contain a tiny amount of egg protein. A practice parameter from the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters stresses that people with egg allergy should receive their yearly flu shot, and that no special precautions are required.
Health care providers often ask those getting flu shots if they are allergic to eggs. Health care providers and people with egg allergy should know there is no need to ask this question anymore, and no need to take any special precautions. Overwhelming evidence has shown that a flu shot poses no greater risk to those with egg allergy than those without.
There have been dozens of studies involving thousands of patients with egg allergy who have received a flu shot without allergic reactions – including hundreds with life-threatening egg allergy. This is because the influenza vaccine does not contain enough egg protein to cause an allergic reaction, even in patients with severe egg allergy.
The practice parameter stresses that no special precautions are needed or recommended for those with egg allergy. There is no longer a need to:
- see an allergy specialist for the flu shot;
- give special flu shots that don’t contain traces of egg;
- require longer-than-normal observation periods after the shot; or
- even ask about egg allergy before giving the vaccine.
If the vaccine is age-appropriate, it can be used for anyone with or without egg allergy.
These recommendations from the allergy community are consistent with those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, all emphasizing the safety and importance of egg-allergic patients receiving their annual influenza vaccine.
There are hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and tens of thousands of deaths in the United States every year because of the flu, most of which could be prevented with a flu shot. Egg allergy primarily affects young children, who are also particularly vulnerable to the flu. It’s very important that everyone, including children with egg allergy, is encouraged to get a flu shot.
One of the main concerns with any vaccine is a severe allergic reaction – known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can happen with any vaccine at a rate of about one per million, no matter the type or whether the person has an allergy. That is why it is always recommended that all personnel and facilities providing vaccines have procedures in place for responding to this rare event.
The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit AAllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. Join us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter