The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends influenza (flu) vaccinations for children and adults — even in people with egg allergies. Although it is true that most flu vaccine shots and the nasal spray flu vaccine are manufactured using egg-based technology, the amount of egg protein in flu vaccines is minimal. Studies have repeatedly found that severe reactions to the flu shots in people with egg allergies are very rare.
A recent CDC study found that the rate of life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) after all flu vaccines is 1.31 per 1 million vaccine doses given. In addition, most cases of anaphylaxis triggered by the flu vaccine were not related to the egg protein present in the vaccine.
The specific CDC recommendations are:
- Children and adults with a history of egg allergy who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg should receive flu vaccine.
- Children and adults who report having had reactions to eggs involving symptoms other than hives — such as angioedema, respiratory distress, lightheadedness, or recurrent vomiting, or who required epinephrine or another emergency medical intervention — may get a flu vaccine. However, it should be given in a medical setting such as a hospital or clinic by a health care provider who has experience with allergies.
- If your child has had a previous severe allergic reaction to the flu vaccine, a flu vaccination is not recommended.
Contact your health care provider if you desire further information about egg allergies and flu vaccines.