* This Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. *
The flu vaccine has been forefront in my mind this year with my food allergies and COVID. During my investigations, I found some very important information about the seasonal flu vaccines and I wanted to share this information to help those in the food allergy community.
The CDC states the flu vaccine may be safe for some of the population with an egg allergy. I personally wanted to err on the safe side and find the egg free and preservative free option.
Here is the statement from the CDC on the flu vaccine and egg allergies:
Persons with Egg Allergy
- Persons who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg may receive any licensed, recommended, age-appropriate influenza vaccine (i.e., IIV, RIV4, or LAIV4).
- Persons reporting symptoms other than hives after exposure to egg (such as angioedema, respiratory distress, lightheadedness, or recurrent emesis; or who required epinephrine or another emergency medical intervention) may also receive any licensed and recommended influenza vaccine that is otherwise appropriate.
- If a vaccine other than ccIIV4 or RIV4 is selected for such a person, it should be administered in an inpatient or outpatient medical setting and supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic reactions.
- A previous severe allergic reaction to influenza vaccine, regardless of the component suspected of causing the reaction, is a contraindication to future receipt of any influenza vaccine.
“Approximately 81% of the projected vaccine supply produced for the 2020-2021 flu season will be produced using egg-based manufacturing technology. The remaining vaccine will be produced using cell-based and recombinant technology.”
Here is what I found through my own flu vaccine journey:
- There are multiple manufacturers of different varieties of the seasonal flu vaccine. Each pharmacy, clinic and doctors’ office order their flu vaccine from the manufacturer(s) of their choice.
- There are egg free inactive forms of the flu vaccine.
- In addition to egg free there are flu vaccine available with with no mercury, formaldehyde, antibiotics or preservatives.
- I was able to find such a vaccine for myself and my husband through research on the internet!
- When I called a pharmacy, they said their vaccine was egg free. I asked for the manufacturers and name of the specific vaccine. I did my own research I found out that it was not egg free. I called back to talk directly to the pharmacist and she confirmed they do not carry any egg free vaccines. Always double check the manufacturer, specific vaccine name with your medical provider.
- Unfortunately, my doctor and other local pharmacies did not carry the vaccine I wanted. This is due to the fact that it cost more and is not (yet) requested by the general population.
- We turned to google to search for the vaccine by using the manufacturer and the specific product name and our location. We found a travel immunization company that offered the vaccine!
- We made an appointment to get our vaccines. I packed my auto-injectors of epinephrine just to be on the safe side.
- The health provider showed me the box to confirm it was indeed the correct vaccine that was the egg free and preservative free version for my safety and reassurance.
- We did not experience any negative reactions other than soreness at the injection site.
- I feel relieved that we have our flu vaccinations and we did the research to find the best options especially with an egg allergy.
- We had to pay $75 a piece out of pocket for the vaccine. We can submit our receipts to our insurance company for potential reimbursement.
- Even though we did pay out of pocket, I felt it was the best decision of what to put in my body that was egg and preservative free. I believe it gives my immune system the best support for no negative reactions especially during this time of COVID, colds and flu.
- I know some people are anti-vaccines and everyone should make their own decisions. It is a personal matter. My goal is to help those who have allergies or sensitivities to be better informed about the variety of and options available for vaccines.
When the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, I will go through the same process.
I wish the best of health for everyone and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CDC link on the different categories of the flu vaccines:
CDC table of flu manufacturers and egg free vaccine options: