Most live influenza vaccines contain trace amounts of egg protein, because of the way they're manufactured. Those studies showed that people with egg allergies were no more likely than others to react to a flu shot. "When someone gets a flu shot, health care providers often ask if they are allergic to eggs", said allergist Matthew Greenhawt, MD, chair of the ACAAI Food Allergy Committee and lead author of the practice parameter.
"Egg allergy affects almost 2% of children, and around 29% of these children may have asthma", Matthew Greenhawt, MD, MBA, MSc, lead author of the practice parameter, chair of ACAAI Food Allergy Committee, Children's Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, told MD Magazine.
To determine if the vaccine was risky for people with egg allergies, Kelso and his colleagues pored through the medical literature and found 28 studies with data from 4,315 egg allergic patients, including 656 who were severely allergic.
That means patients don't need to see an allergist to get the flu shot, or require a longer-than-usual observation period after receiving the injection.
Greenhawt, who is also an associate professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital Colorado, estimates that egg allergy affects 2% of children in the United States. The new guidelines reinforce the fact that the flu vaccine is safe and effective for everyone - even those with egg allergies.
"It's very rare to see an adult with egg allergy - not impossible", he said.
One of the main concerns with any vaccine is a severe allergic reaction - known as anaphylaxis.
"We have been seeing an increase since the fall in those numbers, but they've been stable in the last couple of weeks", said Laura Bourns, a public health physician.
The guidelines come as flu season is starting to rev up.
Vaccine providers and screening questionnaires also no longer need to ask about the egg allergy status of vaccine recipients.
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