As you may know from a previous article, meat allergies are on the rise due to the prevalence of the Lone Star Tick whose bite sometimes triggers alpha-gal sensitivity, a cause of allergy to mammalian meat.
A letter recently published by a team of researchers from the US and Australia in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) warns that the Zoster (shingles) and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines have been linked to anaphylaxis in individuals with meat allergy.
After studying the effects of alpha-gal, the team was concerned that vaccines containing mammal-derived ingredients such as gelatin might pose a risk for those that had contracted alpha-gal sensitivity.
The team described an incident of a 63 year-old female allergy patient with a history of meat allergy after exposure to lone star ticks. Some hours after receiving the zoster vaccine, she experienced anaphylaxis requiring emergency medical care.
Armed with this information, the team scoured the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) database to search for similar occurrences. They found that 36% of people experiencing anaphylaxis associated with the shingles vaccine had a history of beef, pork, gelatin or alpha-gal allergy.
Quoting from the letter: “Although anaphylaxis from zoster vaccine appears to be a low-probability event, it has significant public health implications, and there is a need to determine at a population level how often patients who have anaphylaxis to vaccines with higher gelatin content, such as MMR and zoster vaccine, have an underlying alpha-gal allergy.”