Children with Egg Allergies Can Safely Receive Flu Vaccine

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According to a University of Michigan study, children with egg allergies can safely receive a dose of the seasonal flu vaccine. The study showed that even children with a history of anaphylaxis to egg can safely be vaccinated against influenza.

Historically, the CDC has recommended that people with egg allergies not receive the vaccine because it may contain small amounts of an egg allergen. Recent research, such as the University of Michigan study, led to the modification of this recommendation in 2011. Currently, only those with severe egg allergies are cautioned against receiving the vaccine.

About the Study

In the research study, none of the children with severe allergies to eggs developed an allergic reaction after receiving the vaccine. Lead author of the study Matthew Greenhawt, M.D., M.B.A., Msc, explains:

"The flu vaccine is grown in embryonated chicken eggs and contains residual amounts of ovalbumin, a major egg allergen. This has historically raised concern about the safety of the vaccine in children with egg allergies ... But this study shows these children, all of whom either had anaphylaxis or a severe allergic reaction from egg, can tolerate the vaccine ... The benefits outweigh the risks."

Changing Recommendations

The new study, published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, has already resulted in a change in the recommendations for childhood flu vaccinations. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology announced earlier this month that flu vaccines are safe even for children with a history of severe allergic reactions to eggs.

Source: C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

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