Flu Vaccine and People with Egg Allergies
People with egg allergy may receive any vaccine (egg-based or non-egg-based) that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health status. Beginning with the 2023-2024 season, additional safety measures are no longer recommended for flu vaccination of people who are allergic to eggs beyond those recommended for receipt of any vaccine, regardless of the severity of previous reaction to egg. All vaccines should be administered in settings in which personnel and equipment needed for rapid recognition and treatment of allergic reactions are available.
Most flu shots and the nasal spray flu vaccine are manufactured using egg-based technology. Because of this, they contain a small amount of egg proteins, such as ovalbumin. However, studies that have examined the use of both the nasal spray vaccine and flu shots in egg-allergic and non-egg-allergic patients indicate that severe allergic reactions in people with egg allergies are unlikely.
Although people who are allergic to eggs should receive flu vaccine, people with some other allergies should not. People who have had a severe allergic reaction to other components that are in a flu vaccine should not receive vaccines that contain that component. People who have had a severe allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past should generally not receive flu vaccine again, but might be able to get certain flu vaccines, depending on which one caused the allergic reaction. It is important to discuss allergies that you have with your health care provider.
Should people with an egg allergy (of any severity) get a flu vaccine?
Everyone 6 months and older with egg allergy should receive an annual flu vaccine. Any flu vaccine (egg based or non-egg based) that is otherwise appropriate for the recipient’s age and health status can be used.
Egg allergy does not indicate additional safety measures for flu vaccination beyond those recommended for any recipient of any vaccine, regardless of severity of previous reaction to egg. Severe and life-threatening reactions to vaccines are rare, but can occur with any vaccine and in any vaccine recipient, regardless of allergy history. All vaccines should be administered in settings in which personnel and equipment needed for rapid recognition and treatment of acute hypersensitivity reactions are available.
Why do flu vaccines contain egg protein?
Most flu vaccines today are produced using an egg-based manufacturing process and thus contain a small amount of egg protein called ovalbumin.
How common are severe allergic reactions to vaccines?
Severe allergic reactions (such as anaphylaxis) to vaccines are rare. In a Vaccine Safety Datalink study of more than 25.1 million doses of various vaccines given to children and adults, the rate of anaphylaxis was 1.31 per 1 million doses for all vaccines, and 1.35 per million doses for seasonal flu vaccines.
Although severe allergic reactions to vaccines are rare, they sometimes occur in people who don’t have any known allergies. For this reason, it is recommended that all vaccines are given in settings where allergic reactions can be recognized and managed quickly.