Egg Allergy - No Reason To Miss Your Flu Shot!

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Stephanie Townsend: Welcome to this edition of the Vanderbilt University Health and Wellness Wellcast. I am Stephanie Townsend with Vanderbilt Occupational Health. We are here today to talk with Dr. Ray Peebles, Elizabeth and John Murray Professor of Medicine, Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care on the subject of egg-free flu vaccines. What information is available about egg-free versions of a flu vaccine for 2016/2017 flu season?

Dr. Ray Peebles: We really do not know much about the adverse reactions to the egg-fee versions of the flu vaccine and we do not know whether those people who have had trouble with vaccines in the past specifically the influenza vaccine will be at greater risk for the egg-free vaccines, but given the fact that people who have egg allergy are at no greater risk for adverse reactions than those people who do not have history of egg allergy, we feel that there is a great deal of safety with the currently available vaccines.

Stephanie Townsend: Why is an egg allergy no longer a contradiction to taking the regular flu vaccine?

Dr. Ray Peebles: Mainly because of the fact studies have shown that people who have egg allergy are at no greater risk for having a severe reaction than those who are not egg allergic. Even though there is a small amount of egg in the vaccines that have traditionally been given the tetravalent, now the quadrivalent vaccines, those people who are eggallergic are at no greater risk for severe reaction, and therefore, this is really not a contraindication to taking the regular flu vaccine.

Stephanie Townsend: Can you explain who, if anyone, will be a true candidate for the egg-free vaccine in the coming flu season?

Dr. Ray Peebles: I think possibly those who have had a systematic reaction in the past to the influenza vaccine again not related to egg allergy but those people who have had problems in the past they may be a candidate for the egg-free vaccine but because of the fact that it is a different way the vaccine is made, not because of the egg allergy.

Stephanie Townsend: Where can faculty and staff find more information about the latest updates and facts regarding influenza vaccinations?

Dr. Ray Peebles: I think the best site, there are two sites. First is the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology website. This website shows recent studies that have shown that even individuals with confirmed egg allergy can safely receive the flu vaccine, and what this organization did was they partnered with the American College of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology to come up with practice parameters or guidelines for vaccinations, and they have said that the normal precautions for giving any vaccine to any patient should be followed mainly recognizing that about 1 in 1,000,000 doses of vaccine may result in a reaction. However, it is not related to egg.

Stephanie Townsend: Thank you so much Dr. Peebles.

Dr. Ray Peebles: Thank you.

Stephanie Townsend: Thanks for listening. Please feel free to leave us any comments on this Wellcast on the form at the bottom of this page. If you have a story suggestion, please email it to us at or you can use the “Contact Us” page on our website at

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