Not so Rotten Eggs!

As someone who stood in line for 3 hours to receive my H1N1 vaccine last year, only to be turned away by an officious clipboard wielding nurse, this Word on Health blogger just had an “I told you so” moment!

According to new recommendations by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), anyone with a history of suspected egg allergy should first be evaluated by an allergist or immunologist for appropriate testing and diagnosis but can probably receive the vaccination.

Matthew J. Greenhawt, M.D., and James T. Li, M.D., Ph.D., from the Department of Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic, have co-authored the guidelines based on recent studies that show that even the most egg-allergic individuals can receive the flu vaccine safely under the care of their allergist/immunologist.

As I know only too well, in the past, people with egg allergy were told they could not have the flu vaccine because it contained egg protein which could potentially trigger an allergic reaction. However new research shows that not only do flu vaccines contain only tiny amounts of egg protein, the vast majority people with egg allergies don’t react.  Indeed it seems that many people with diagnosed or suspected egg allergy can receive the influenza vaccination successfully, if simple precautions are followed.

These include:

  • Anyone with a history of suspected egg allergy should first be evaluated by an allergist or immunologist for appropriate testing and diagnosis
  • Patients with a confirmed egg allergy can then receive the vaccine safely using one of two protocols: a two-step graded challenge or a single, age-appropriate dose

It is not necessary to withhold influenza vaccination from egg-allergic patients,” says Greenhawt. “Our recommendations provide two flexible approaches to vaccination. Each approach is backed with recent evidence that it is safe. Most allergists should be able to identify with one of our recommended approaches and, as such, be able to vaccinate their egg-allergic patients with confidence.”

So, Nah! Nah! Na! Nah! Nah! to you officious nurse.  Who has egg on their face now?

Do you have vaccine stories to share?  Word on Health would like to hear them.

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One thought on “Not so Rotten Eggs!

  1. October 9, 2012; (Reuters) – With flu season approaching, a Canadian study offers more reassurance that children with egg allergies can be safely vaccinated against the virus.

    Because the flu vaccine is grown in chicken eggs, there have traditionally been concerns about the safety of flu shots for people with egg allergies, most of whom are young children. But today’s vaccine has only tiny traces of egg protein, and studies have been showing that children with egg allergies can be vaccinated without any serious reaction.

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