Important note: This article is intended for those who understand vaccines as critical to maintaining their health and that of their families. It is NOT intended for those who are anti-vaccine and as such is NOT intended to foster a discussion on the merits of vaccines in this forum. It is also NOT intended to foster a discussion of the lethality of influenza, COVID-19 or the need for civic action to limit the spread of the disease.
Influenza season is here and with it come the usual warnings of how hundreds of thousands of Americans are hospitalized and tens of thousands die of the disease each year. This year’s message is especially important as the Delta COVID-19 variant circulates, filling ICUs to capacity.
The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated for flu with rare exceptions. For years there was concern that since eggs are used in the production of some flu vaccines, individuals with egg allergies are at increased risk of suffering a reaction when getting vaccinated. But in recent years, that thinking has changed.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) [emphasis ours]:
Recent studies have shown that even individuals with confirmed egg allergy can safely receive the flu vaccine. The Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology and the American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics state that no special precautions are required for the administration of influenza vaccine to egg-allergic patients no matter how severe the egg allergy.
In fact, guidelines now state that it is not necessary to ask about egg allergy prior to the administration of any influenza vaccine, including on screening forms. Patients and parents should tell providers if they or their child have had an adverse reaction to a prior dose of influenza vaccine itself. The normal precautions for giving any vaccine to any patient should be followed, namely recognizing that about one in a million doses of any vaccine results in a serious allergic reaction, and vaccine providers should be prepared to recognize and treat such reactions.
If you still have reservations about the ability of you or a family member to get the flu shot, see this video entitled “Should I get the Flu Shot if I have a Severe Egg Allergy” by allergist Dr John Kelso representing the AAAAI: