The Significance of Allergic Reactions to Vaccines

MARCH 13, 2017
Amy Jacob

John Kelso, MD, Division of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, Scripps Clinic, San Diego, outlined the main points from the talks he gave at the AAAAI 2017 meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. Kelso explained that the most important message, he felt, had to do with the relationship between the influenza vaccine and egg allergies. For quite some time, researchers had surmised that if a patient was allergic to eggs, he shouldn't receive an influenza vaccine, because the vaccine is grown in eggs and contains egg protein. Experts were concerned that if these patients were, in fact, administered the influenza vaccine, the patients would experience anaphylactic reactions. 

However, during the last decade, researchers had conduced several studies in which they gave patients, with definitive egg allergies, the influenza vaccine, without seeing any adverse reactions. Based on these results, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new recommendations and guidance on administering the influenza vaccine. According to Kelso, the updated recommendation specifically said that egg allergies are not risk factors for having a reaction to influenza vaccines.

Kelso said that the unanswered question was whether it's okay for patients who experience allergic reactions to vaccines to get them in the first place - the alternative is the risk of leaving patients unvaccinated.

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