Flu Vaccine and Egg Allergy

The flu vaccine may contain some amount of egg protein. This means that people with egg allergy could have an allergic reaction when given the flu vaccine.

Fortunately for people with egg allergy, flu vaccines may be administered by experienced physicians under certain conditions.

However, most reactions to flu vaccines are not caused by egg-allergy.

How common is egg allergy

Food allergies are more common in children than in adults. The prevalence of egg allergy depends on age and history of allergic disease. An estimated 1.6 percent of children in the general population have egg allergy. However, it is more common in children with other allergies.

Tests to determine egg allergy

To find out if you have egg allergy, your doctor will check you clinical history, and perform either a skin prick test or a blood test. Experts recommend having an allergist help confirm the test results.

Administering flu vaccine to a high-risk patient

Patients suspected of having egg allergy should be skin tested first. If the result is positive, the severity of the allergic reaction should be evaluated, and the risk/benefits of administering the vaccine should be weighed. If vaccination is needed, it can be administered in an allergy specialist’s clinic, where the patient can be given emergency treatment if necessary.

Alternative flu prevention

High-risk people with egg allergy and those who are unable to take the vaccine can take other flu medications within 24 hours of developing symptoms. These medications relieve or prevent flu progression.

Source: ACAAI