Many individuals with egg allergies are still following the outdated protocol of not receiving a flu vaccine due to their egg allergy.
Based on the 2018-2019 recommendations from the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, individuals with a known egg allergy may receive the flu vaccine shot or nasal spray and those recommendations have not changed for the current 2019-2020 flu season.
The Link Between Flu Vaccines and Eggs
For over 70 years, the most common method of manufacturing flu vaccines has been through the process of incubating and “growing” the flu virus in a chicken egg. There have since been other methods for manufacturing the flu vaccine that do not require the use of eggs however, the egg-based method continues to be the most commonly used process.
Naturally, very small amounts of egg protein may be found within flu vaccines, however, the amount is so small and has been modified to such a degree that it poses no greater risk of vaccine reactions to egg allergic individuals than it does to the general population.
In fact, the amount of egg protein contained in the 2011-2015 influenza vaccines was less than 1 µg/0.5 mL dose for flu shots (that’s less than 1 microgram or less than one millionth of a gram) and 0.24 µg/0.2 mL dose for the nasal spray.
Flu Vaccine Guidelines for Egg Allergic Individuals
Except in very rare circumstances, people with egg allergies can receive both the flu shot and the flu nasal spray vaccine. It is recommended that anyone who experiences severe allergic reactions, more than hives, after eating egg should receive their flu vaccine under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
For those who would rather receive an egg-free flu vaccine, there are two FDA-approved vaccines that are completely egg-free and available for the 2019-2020 flu season; the Flublok Quadrivalent and the Flucelvax Quadrivalent.
Anyone who has experienced an allergic reaction after receiving a flu shot, whether due to egg protein or another vaccine component, should not receive a flu shot. While extremely rare, 1.35 reaction per every one million vaccines administered, allergic reactions to flu vaccines may occur but data shows the majority of these reactions were not due to the presence of egg protein.
Of course, all individuals should speak with their physician to determine a healthcare plan based on their individual needs and concerns.
At Advanced Specialty Care, our flu vaccine protocol allows administration for those who are allergic to egg. The quantity of egg in the current influenza vaccines is so small and has been so modified such that with rare exceptions, egg allergic individuals are no greater risk for influenza vaccine reactions than the general population.
The Allergy, Asthma and Immunology physicians at Advanced Specialty Care provide allergy & asthma evaluations and treatment. Allergy and Asthma appointments are available in our Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk and Ridgefield locations. If you have questions about Food Oral Immunotherapy, asthma, allergy testing, allergy treatments or would like to schedule an appointment, please call our office at (203) 830-4700 or simply click here to fill out an appointment request form
For additional information on the CDC’s flu vaccine recommendations or to learn more about this year’s flu strain and vaccines, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/egg-allergies.htm#recommendations
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has also provided additional information here: https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/egg-allergy-and-the-flu-vaccine