The influenza vaccine, also known as a flu shot, is a vaccine that protects against seasonal influenza (the Flu). The CDC recommends everyone over the age of 6 months get the flu shot.
There is some confusion about who should not be vaccinated against influenza, particularly among those with an allergy to chicken egg. Influenza vaccines typically contain a small amount of egg protein. Fortunately, recent studies have shown that even people with egg allergy can safely receive the flu vaccine. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology and the American Academy of Pediatrics states that “no special precautions are required for the administration of influenza vaccine to egg-allergic patients no matter how severe the egg allergy”. Normal precautions for giving vaccines should still be followed as rare case of allergic reactions to vaccines of any type do still occur.
There are a few different types of flu vaccines. The CDC does not recommend the nasal spray flu vaccine (FluMist) this Flu season. The CDC recommends both the trivalent and quadrivalent injectable influenza vaccines. Patients 18 years and older who are allergic to eggs may receive the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV). If RIV is not available or the patient is under 18 years of age and allergic to eggs, he or she can likely safely receive the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV). Those with a history of severe allergy to eggs may receive IIV if administered by physician experienced in the recognition and management of severe allergic conditions. Additionally, Flublok is an egg-free flu vaccine for those over 18 years of age.
The Allergy Department at the Boulder Medical Center recognizes many patients and parents of pediatric patient with egg-allergy may be reluctant to immunize against the flu. Along with your primary are provider, we can help determine the appropriate type of flu shot for each patient given your age, health history and allergy status. We also are trained in recognizing and treating allergic reactions. The Allergy Department offers flu administration with monitoring for such individuals. Please contact us for more information and to schedule an appointment at 303-440-3083.
Madeline Hoglund, NP-C
Allergy Department at Boulder Medical Center