Is your child allergic to eggs? If so, the doctor has probably advised you that flu shots may be dangerous. However – and just in time for flu season – new research suggests that flu shots, even those grown and developed with egg protein, do not cause allergic reactions.
The recent report from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) revised the previous advice to avoid giving flu shots to children with egg allergies. Researchers found that the trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine (TIV) will not cause an allergic reaction.
Allergist Dr. Stanley Fineman, President of ACAAI, recently spoke with about the reversal in flu shot recommendations, explaining “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.” Previously, flu shots were not recommended for those allergic to egg because the vaccine is produced using egg fibroblasts, “So there has been a concern that there may be a residual amount of egg protein in the vaccine.”
Fortunately, the amount of egg protein in the completed vaccine is so small as to pose little risk of an allergic reaction. If you have avoided giving your child a seasonal flu shot because of the risk of an allergic reaction, talk to your child's allergist or pediatrician. Some children with severe egg allergies should still avoid the shot, which may contain small quantities of egg protein. “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” notes Dr. Fineman.