With the flu season looming and health officials calling for across-the-board immunization, some parents may wonder just how safe the egg-based flu vaccine is for children with allergies.
Pretty safe, say pediatricians from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center: Even though the flu vaccine contains egg protein, most children with egg and other food allergies can be immunized safely with a few basic precautions.
An estimated 2 percent to 3 percent of U.S. children are allergic to eggs, but leaving them unprotected against the flu can lead to many unnecessary yet preventable infections and hospitalizations, the Hopkins doctors say. And because many children with food allergies also have asthma, they are at even higher risk for complications from the flu.
“Some parents are understandably concerned about allergic reactions to the flu vaccine and in the past may have opted against it, but the risk of catching the flu far outweighs the risk for an allergic reaction to the vaccine, and even children with egg allergies can be immunized safely,” says Robert Wood, M.D., director of Allergy & Immunology at Hopkins Children’s.