If you or your children don’t usually get a flu shot due to egg allergy, new research has good news for your family’s health. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) it is safe for adults and children who are allergic to eggs to get a flu shot.
Historically, people with egg allergy have been warned against getting immunized to prevent the flu. This is because the flu vaccine is grown in chicken eggs which can introduce egg protein into the vaccine.
Allergists were concerned that people with egg allergy could react to this protein in the flu shot.
But new research from the University of Michigan, which was published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology indicates that it is safe for children with egg allergy to receive the flu vaccine.
The study tracked children who had severe egg allergy, including some with a history of anaphylaxis to egg. None of the children developed an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine.
The research team concluded that the amount of egg protein in the vaccine is not enough to cause an allergic reaction. The study also demonstrated that it is safe for children to receive the entire vaccine dose in one shot without needing to split the dose to reduce egg allergy reaction risks.
Dr. James Sublett, an allergist and chair of the ACAAI Public Relations Committee said, "It has been long advised that children and adults with an egg allergy do not receive the vaccination, however, we now know administration is safe. Children and adults should be vaccinated, especially when the flu season is severe, as it is this year.”
Matthew Greenhawt, M.D., M.B.A., M.Sc., lead author of the study and assistant professor of allergy and immunology at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, said, "Because the prevalence of egg allergy in children is approximately 2%, we know there are a significant number of children who don't get the flu vaccine. This study can put parents' fears to rest and hopefully help more kids avoid the flu.”
As of mid-January 2013, 29 children died this flu season due to complications from the flu virus. Over 21,100 children under age five are hospitalized each year due to the flu.
"The benefits of the flu vaccination far outweigh the risks," said Dr. Sublett.
"The best precaution for children that have experienced anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, after ingesting eggs in the past is to receive the vaccination from an allergist."
Science Daily. Children Once in Danger of Flu Show Can Get Vaccinated, Experts Say. Web. February 19, 2013.
Science Daily. Children with Egg Allergies Can Safely Receive Flu Vaccine, Multi-Center Study Finds. Web. February 19, 2013.
Reviewed February 20, 2013
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith