Influenza is a potentially life-threatening viral respiratory infection that is particularly dangerous for people with chronic underlying medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease, as well as for young children and the elderly. The seasonal influenza vaccine is recommended to prevent, or to reduce the severity of, infection with the influenza virus. Unfortunately, the influenza vaccine is made in chicken eggs, and therefore contains a small amount of egg protein. For this reason, the influenza vaccine has traditionally not been given to people with an allergy to eggs. While newer information suggests that the influenza vaccine can be safely given under medical supervision by a physician skilled in the treatment of allergic reactions, many people with egg allergy still don't receive the seasonal influenza vaccine.
Flublok, a new seasonal influenza vaccine, has been developed for the 2013-2014 influenza season. It does not contain any egg protein, as it is made in an "insect cell line". The current FDA approval of Flublok is for adults 18-49 years of age -- which is disappointing -- as most people outgrow their egg allergy by their teenage years. Therefore, it is somewhat surprising to me that the manufacturer, Protein Sciences Corporation, is even bothering with Flublok. It's likely to be far more expensive than traditional egg-based influenza vaccines, and can only be used for adults -- of whom egg allergy is not common. Go figure.
- Influenza Vaccine and Egg Allergy
- Which Vaccines Should You Avoid with Food Allergies?
- Outgrowing Egg Allergy