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Daniel More, MD

Egg-Free Flu Vaccine Now Available for Adults

By September 29, 2013

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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 at the present time.

Until Flublok is approved for the use in children, egg-containing influenza vaccines can generally be safely given to egg-allergic children. This procedure should only be accomplished under the supervision of a physician experienced in the recognition and treatment of allergic reactions. Most studies suggest that the influenza vaccine should not be withheld in asthmatics with egg allergy, as the dangers of getting the flu outweigh the small risk of an allergic reaction from the flu vaccine in these people.

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