According to a new paper published on the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) website, recent studies show that most egg allergic individuals can receive the flu vaccine safely under the care of their allergist/immunologist.
“In the past, persons with egg allergy were told not to get the influenza vaccine because the vaccine contained egg protein and could trigger an allergic reaction. Research in the past year now shows that influenza vaccines contain only tiny amounts of egg protein. Clinical studies proved that the vast majority of persons with egg allergy did not experience a reaction when immunized with the influenza vaccine,” said co-author of the paper James T. Li, MD, PhD, FAAAAI.
Based on the examined research, the authors no longer recommend the practice of skin testing to the seasonal Trivalent Influenza Vaccine (TIV), although it may be useful as an extra level of caution in cases where the patient has a documented history of a past allergic reaction to the vaccine.
Anyone with a history of suspected egg allergy should first be evaluated by an allergist/immunologist for appropriate testing and diagnosis. Patients with a confirmed egg allergy can then receive the vaccine safely using one of two protocols: as a 2-step graded challenge or as a single, age-appropriate dose.
“It is not necessary to withhold influenza vaccination from egg allergic patients. Our recommendations provide two flexible approaches to vaccination. Each approach is backed with recent evidence that it is safe,” according to co-author Matthew J. Greenhawt, MD, MBA. “Most allergists should be able to identify with one of our recommended approaches, and as such should be able to vaccinate their egg allergic patients with confidence.”
The authors do note that the safety of these vaccines in individuals with severe egg allergy needs to be studied further.
The AAAAI represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has nearly 6,500 members in the United States, Canada and 60 other countries. To find an allergist/immunologist in your area, visit www.aaaai.org/physref.