Flu jab may pose a risk for people with rare food allergy – is it safe to get vaccinated?


Every year, vulnerable people and those over the age of 50 are offered a free flu vaccine in the winter months. The flu vaccine is extremely effective in providing protection to those susceptible to falling ill from the flu, as well as protecting those around you.

However, according to the NHS, there are some people who should be cautious about the specific type of flu vaccine they get.

Adults who have had a severe allergic reaction to eggs in the past, or who have a diagnosed allergy to eggs, should speak to their doctor before getting their flu vaccine.

This does not mean that they cannot get a flu jab though. Patients should discuss the best option for them with their GP.

The NHS states: “Most adults can have the flu vaccine, but you should avoid it if you have had a serious allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past.

“You may be at risk of an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine injection if you have an egg allergy.

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Symptoms often begin in childhood but experts from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimate that around 70 percent of children with an egg allergy outgrow the condition by the time they are 16.

Even if you do have an egg allergy lasting into adulthood, this does not mean you can not get any flu vaccine at all.

The NHS recommends speaking to your GP or pharmacist for a low-egg or egg-free vaccine.

Doctor Pritish K. Tosh similarly told MayoClinc of the steps that can be taken for people who have an egg allergy but still want to be protected against the flu.

He said: “If you only have a mild egg allergy, it’s still safe to get a flu vaccine.

“There are two flu vaccines that don’t contain egg proteins and are approved for use in adults age 18 and older.

“And even flu vaccines that do have egg proteins can be given safely to people with egg allergy.”

In some instances, you may be required to wait up to 30 minutes before leaving the surgery to make sure you do not have an allergic reaction.

Dr Tosh added that patients may be required to have a skin test prior to vaccination to check the severity of their allergy.

Who is eligible for an NHS flu vaccine in England?

The NHS gives out flu vaccines to people who meet specific requirements every year.

These include people over the age of 50 and those who are considered vulnerable, or who have vulnerable people in their household.

The flu vaccine is given to:

People who are aged 50 and over

People with certain health conditions

Pregnant women

People in long-stay residential care

People who receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for a disabled person

People who live with someone who is likely to fall ill from the flu

Frontline health and social care workers



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