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Are Flu Shots Safe for People With Egg Allergies?

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Updated December 20, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Are Flu Shots Safe for People With Egg Allergies?
There is some confusion about whether or not flu shots are safe for people with egg allergies. Get the facts - are they safe or not?
Answer:

Flu shots are not recommended for people with severe egg allergies.

The flu vaccine is grown in chicken eggs and can cause severe allergic reactions in those with egg allergies.

However, it may be possible for some people with egg allergies to get the flu shot if it's necessary. If you have a condition that puts you at high risk for complications from the flu, it may be worth getting the flu shot even if you do have a mild egg allergy. It's certainly worth a discussion with your doctor.

Dr. Georgina Peacock at the CDC says, "It is possible for people who have a severe egg allergy to work with their allergist and go through a process of desensitization if that is something that they and their doctor think is really important. In general, it is really severe egg allergies that are contraindicated to getting the flu vaccine."

If getting a flu shot is not an option for you due to a severe egg allergy, make sure those around you get the vaccine. According to Dr. Peacock, "it's important if you have an egg allergy that the people around you get vaccinated."

Anyone with an egg allergy should talk to their doctor before they get the flu vaccine to decide whether or not it is right for them.

Sources:

Interview with Dr. Georgina Peacock. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 25 Oct 10.

"Who Should Not Get Vaccinated With These Vaccines?" Vaccines & Immunizations 10 June 10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 8 Nov 10.

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