Insights on Influenza Blog
Mission: To save lives and reduce hospitalizations by protecting children, families, and communities against influenza.
Insights on Influenza
  • Flu Prevention

Influenza Vaccines for People with Egg Allergies

flu vaccine for those with egg allergy
Posted on May 18, 2020

May is Allergy Awareness Month! 

There is a common misconception that people who are allergic to eggs cannot receive an influenza vaccine. Below, we outline the different reasons why most people with an egg allergy can still receive an annual flu vaccine. As always, please check with a trusted healthcare provider regarding any specific questions about your personal healthcare needs. 

Why are eggs used for flu vaccines?

Every year, flu vaccines are manufactured to match the circulating flu viruses based on year-round, global surveillance. Egg-based manufacturing has been used for more than 70 years and is one of three ways flu vaccines are made (the other two manufacturing processes are cell-based and recombinant). Scientists inject viruses into eggs where they incubate and replicate. After the viruses have grown, they remove the virus from the egg and inactivate (kill) the parts of the virus that are alive. Then, they are left with purified antigen, which is the part of the virus in the vaccine that causes your body to produce an immune response (i.e., develop antibodies) without making you sick.

Is it safe to get a flu vaccine if I have an egg allergy?

Egg allergies can vary in severity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) separates people with egg allergies into two categories: 1) those who get hives after egg exposure, and 2) those who get a reaction after egg exposure that includes symptoms beyond just hives.  

  1. For people who develop hives following egg exposure: The CDC states that hives after exposure to egg are not a reason to avoid getting a flu vaccine. While anaphylaxis is always a concern, this side effect is rare. In a Vaccine Safety Datalink study of more than 25.1 million doses of vaccines of various types given to children and adults over 3 years of age, only 33 individuals developed anaphylaxis.
  2. For people who get a reaction that includes symptoms beyond just hives following egg exposure: According to the CDC, if you experience any reaction beyond just hives after eating egg, you can still get a flu vaccine. However,  vaccination should take place in a medical setting (e.g., doctor’s office, clinic, health department) with a healthcare provider who can recognize and manage severe allergic conditions and where you can be monitored following vaccination for any side effects.

In what situation should someone with egg allergies not get a flu vaccine?

The CDC states that a previous severe allergic reaction to a flu vaccine, regardless of the component suspected of being responsible for the reaction, is the only reason not to receive a flu vaccine. Speak with a trusted healthcare provider who knows your medical history best to determine if you do not qualify for flu vaccination. 

Are any flu vaccines made without egg?

Yes, there are currently two available egg-free flu vaccines for individuals 4 years of age and older. The first, Flublok Quadrivalent, is licensed for use in adults 18 years and older; this is a recombinant vaccine. The second, Flucelvax Quadrivalent, is licensed for use in people 4 years of age and older and is a cell-based vaccine. 

 

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/cell-based.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/qa_flublok-vaccine.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/egg-allergies.htm

Share this article:

You might also be interested in...

get a flu vaccine poster
When Is the Right Time for Flu Vaccination?
girl washing hands to avoid the flu and covid-19
Hand Hygiene: How to Avoid the Flu and COVID-19
asthma awareness month graphic
Connections Between Influenza and Asthma

Contact Us

Families Fighting Flu
4201 Wilson Blvd., #110-702
Arlington, VA 22203

(703) 203-4335
1-888-2ENDFLU (1-888-236-3358)

contact@familiesfightingflu.org

Stay Informed
Sign up for our Weekly Flu News and quarterly newsletter, Fighting Influenza, to stay up-to-date on the latest flu news.
Newsletter

LOGO LICENSE AGREEMENT

You are required to accept all of the terms and conditions in this License Agreement in order to receive a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-assignable, royalty-free license to use the FAMILIES FIGHTING FLU, INC. logo, displayed below (the “FFF Logo”), from Families Fighting Flu, Inc. (“FFF”). In order to accept these terms and conditions, you must click the “I Accept” button below.

  1. FFF hereby grants to you, and you accept, a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-assignable, royalty-free license to use the FFF Logo, which you may download and use solely in online and print earned media publications for a period of no more than six (6) months in the United States.
  2. You acknowledge that the FFF Logo is a valid trademark; that FFF is the sole owner of the FFF Logo; and that FFF retains all right, title, and interest in and to the FFF Logo. You agree that any and all use that you make of the FFF Logo, and any and all goodwill arising from your use of the FFF Logo, shall inure exclusively to the benefit of FFF.  You also agree that you shall not challenge the validity of the FFF Logo or FFF’s ownership or title thereto during the term of the License Agreement or thereafter.
  3. You agree that you shall use the FFF Logo only in the form shown above, and that you shall not alter, modify, change, or edit the FFF Logo in any manner.
  4. You acknowledge the valuable goodwill and reputation in the FFF Logo, and that it is essential that the high standards and reputation associated with the FFF Logo be maintained. You therefore agree to use the FFF Logo consistent with the highest standards of quality so as to protect and maintain the FFF Logo and FFF’s rights therein.
  5. FFF shall have the right to review and inspect your use of the FFF Logo at any time. FFF, in its sole discretion, may determine that you are not using the FFF Logo in an acceptable manner and require that you discontinue your use of the FFF Logo.  To the extent that FFF requires that you discontinue your use of the FFF Logo, you agree that you shall remove the FFF Logo from all online and print earned media publications as soon as practicable under the circumstances, and that you shall not use the FFF at any time in the future.
  6. You must include the following notice in connection with any use of the FFF Logo: “The Families Fighting Flu, Inc. logo is the registered trademark of Families Fighting Flu, Inc.”
I Accept