Updated CDC Flu Vaccine Guidelines for People with Egg Allergy

A video by Dr Lisa Grohskopf, spokesperson for the CDC Influenza Division, provides a summary of the CDC’s new guidelines regarding the vaccination of people with egg allergies against the flu.

Most influenza vaccines, administered by injection and nasal spray, are manufactured using technologies that are egg-based and may contain minute quantities of egg protein. In a recent vaccine study, there were only 10 reported cases of anaphylaxis for more than 7.4 million doses of trivalent inactivated flu vaccine.

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Dr Grohskopf provides the following recommendations:

  • Dr Lisa GrohskopfPatients who are able to eat lightly cooked egg (ie, scrambled egg) without reaction are unlikely to be allergic to eggs and can be given any licensed, recommended flu vaccine (ie, any form of IIV or recombinant influenza vaccine [RIV]) that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health status;

  • Patients with a history of egg allergy who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg also can be given any licensed flu vaccine (ie, any form of IIV or RIV) that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health; and

  • Patients with a history of more serious reactions to eating eggs or egg-containing foods—those who have had symptoms such as angioedema, respiratory distress, lightheadedness, or recurrent emesis, or who required epinephrine or another emergency medical intervention—also can receive any licensed flu vaccine (ie, any form of IIV or RIV) that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health status, but the vaccine should be given in a medical setting and be supervised by a healthcare provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions.

The term “medical setting” refers to hospitals, clinics, health departments, and physician offices. A healthcare provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions basically means a healthcare provider who has and can administer epinephrine.

However, some people should not receive flu vaccines, including anyone who has previously experienced a severe allergic reaction to a flu vaccine, regardless of the component suspected of being responsible for the reaction. Flu vaccines contain a variety of components other than egg proteins that can occasionally cause allergic reactions.

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To determine whether the flu vaccine is indicated for you or your child and which setting/level of observation is advised, please consult with your allergist or other appropriate medical professional.

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