If you’re allergic to eggs, you’re all clear to get a flu shot this year, according to new guidelines published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Most live influenza vaccines contain trace amounts of egg protein, because of the way they’re manufactured. In the past, most of the relatively few people who suffer from egg allergies—roughly 1% of children and 0.2% of adults, according to the CDC—could get a shot, but were encouraged to take a few extra precautions.
That’s no longer necessary, the guidelines say. The updated practice parameters, which were written by American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Food Allergy Committee Chair Matthew Greenhawt, are based on dozens of studies that suggest the tiny amounts of egg protein found in a flu shot are not enough to trigger a dangerous reaction, even in people with a severe allergy.
People do not need to see an allergist before getting a flu shot, seek out egg-free formulas or submit to longer-than-normal observation periods after vaccination, the guidelines say. Doctors don’t even need to ask about an egg allergy before giving the injection, the paper adds.
Last year, the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics both relaxed their flu shot guidelines for patients with egg allergies. The CDC now recommends that nearly all Americans older than six months get a flu shot, with an emphasis on young children, elderly adults and those with chronic illnesses.
Vaccines are ideally administered before flu season begins in October, but you can get one at any point during the virus’ circulation to reduce your risk of transmission.
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