This “Ask the Allergist” video addresses both COVID-19 and flu vaccines and people with egg allergy. It starts with information about flu vaccines and egg allergy. If you’re interested in COVID-19 and egg allergy, go to the 1:12 mark in the video.
Q: Are flu and COVID-19 vaccines safe for people with egg allergy?
Jacqueline Eghrari-Sabet, MD: Let’s start first with flu vaccines – some may contain a very small amount of egg protein. But there are certainly types that contain no egg at all. Overall, people with egg allergy CAN receive egg-derived vaccines.
Here’s why: severe allergic reactions to egg in the flu vaccine are extremely rare – it’s about 1 case for every 1 million vaccines given. CDC guidelines for giving people with egg allergy the flu vaccine hasn’t changed for the last three years. If you are allergic to egg, you can receive any licensed influenza vaccination.
If you have a severe egg allergy – meaning you get symptoms that involve more than hives on your skin after eating egg – then you should get your flu vaccination in a healthcare setting, like a doctor’s office clinic or hospital. You will be observed by doctors and nurses who are prepared to treat you if you develop an allergic reaction.
Here is the really important takeaway: egg allergy or not, go get your flu vaccine.
What about COVID-19 vaccines? This one is easy. The COVID-19 vaccines authorized by FDA are not manufactured using egg products or technology. So there’s nothing to talk about there even if you’re allergic to egg.
Jacqueline Eghrari-Sabet, MD, FACAAI, is board-certified in allergy, immunology and pediatrics. She is the Medical Director of Telehealth for Allergy & Asthma Network. Dr. Eghrari-Sabet is the founder of Family Allergy & Asthma Care and the FAAR Institute in the Washington, DC area, where she has been in private practice since 1994. Dr. Eghrari-Sabet is Assistant Clinical Professor at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences where she mentors the next generation or doctors.
Have a medical question? Email [email protected] or write to Ask the Allergist, Allergy & Asthma Network, 8229 Boone Blvd., Suite 260, Vienna, VA 22182.