This article has been reviewed by Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI, AAAAI Website Medical Editor
Flu season is here and so is the need to be protected by getting vaccinated. Most types of influenza vaccine contain a very small amount of egg protein, so before giving it health providers ask if you are allergic to eggs. But does being allergic to egg mean you should not get the vaccine?
Recent studies have shown that even individuals with confirmed egg allergy can safely receive the flu vaccine. The Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology and the American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology states that no special precautions are required for the administration of influenza vaccine to egg-allergic patients no matter how severe the egg allergy. The normal precautions for giving any vaccine to any patient should be followed, namely recognizing that about one in a million doses of any vaccine results in a serious allergic reaction, and vaccine providers should be prepared to recognize and treat such reactions.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently advises a somewhat more cautious approach, namely if you or your child's reaction to eating eggs is hives only, the vaccine can be administered in the primary care provider's office with a 30 minute observation period afterward. If the reaction to eating eggs involves other symptoms such as difficulty breathing or lightheadedness, the vaccine should be administered in an allergist's office, again with a 30 minute observation period afterward. The ACIP also recommends the influenza vaccine shot for egg-allergic patients although recent studies have shown that the influenza vaccine nasal spray can also be given safely to patients with egg allergy.
To the Point
Studies show that flu vaccines can be safely administered to egg-allergic individuals.
Learn more about food allergies.