'Egg-cellent' Flu Shots

Flu shots can be given to children with egg allergies

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) If your child has an egg allergy, chances are, you have been cautioned against giving them a flu shot. However, just in time for flu season, it turns out flu shots do not cause an allergic reaction.

A recent report by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) has reversed the previous recommendation against flu shots for children with egg allergies. The trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine (TIV) is safe for children with egg allergies. Parents who wanted to give their child a flu shot can now do so without worrying.

"Talk to your child's allergist about the severity of egg allergies."

Allergist Dr. Stanley Fineman, president of the ACAAI, spoke with dailyRx about this reversal.  Dr. Fineman explained to dailyRx that “There have been several medical research studies published in the last 2 years that have shown that patients with egg allergies rarely have reactions to the flu vaccination.”

Flu shots were not recommended for children with egg allergies because the flu vaccine is grown and developed in eggs. “These vaccines are produced using egg fibroblasts so there has been a concern that there may be a residual amount of egg protein in the vaccine,” Fineman said.

While it was logical to assume possible allergic reactions, more studies have made it clear how little of the protein remains in the flu vaccine. According to Dr. Fineman, “Fortunately for patients with egg protein allergy, the actual amount of egg protein in the flu vaccine is so minute that there is minimal risk of egg allergic reaction.”

Egg allergy is one of the seven most common type of childhood allergies according to a release by the ACAAI. Around 1.3 to 1.6 percent of all children have egg allergies.

Fortunately, flu vaccines do not affect any other type of food allergy.

This could be better news for children who have an egg allergy and have asthma. As the ACAAI reports, children with allergies tend to have asthma. The flu would exacerbate respiratory symptoms and could possibly lead to hospitalization. Now the child can have a flu shot and avoid any complications.

If you child does have a severe egg allergy, it is still recommended to ask your allergist first before receiving the vaccine. Dr. Fineman notes, “The risk of egg protein allergic reaction from a flu vaccine is very low, although patients who are very sensitive to egg protein should see an allergist to evaluate their degree of allergic sensitivity since they may need to receive their flu shot in the allergist’s office.”

Egg allergies should not stand in the way of getting a flu shot this season. While a child may not like getting a shot, both the child and parent can sleep easier knowing they are protected from the flu. 

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 2, 2011
Last Updated:
September 12, 2012