Can I get the flu vaccine if I'm allergic to eggs?
Answer From Pritish K. Tosh, M.D.
Yes, you can get a flu shot even if you are allergic to eggs.
Serious reactions to the small amount of egg protein in flu vaccines are unlikely. Because of that, people who have an allergic reaction to eggs, mild or serious, can get any of the flu vaccines, at any location. Two flu vaccines are not made with eggs and they are options if a person's age and health are a good match for one of those vaccines.
Seasonal flu vaccines change every year depending on the influenza strains spreading around the world. One way scientists grow the virus strains is in eggs, such as from chickens. Enough vaccine for millions of people can be created this way. To get the vaccines ready for humans, scientists alter the viruses so they can't cause the flu. The vaccines also are purified, meaning all but a trace amount of egg protein is removed.
Because the egg proteins are removed, even if you are allergic to eggs, you can still get a flu shot.
But if you had a serious allergic reaction to an egg-based flu vaccine in the past, you should avoid that kind of flu vaccine in the future. Talk to your healthcare professional about other types of flu vaccines instead.
Pritish K. Tosh, M.D.
Oct. 24, 2023
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- Grohskopf LA, et al. Prevention and control of seasonal influenza with vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, 2023-2024 influenza season. MMWR Recommendations and Reports. 2023; doi:10.15585/mmwr.rr7202a1.
- Orenstein W, et al., eds. Inactivated and recombinant influenza vaccines. In: Plotkin's Vaccines. 8th ed. Elsevier; 2024. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 23, 2023.
- AskMayoExpert. Influenza vaccination. Mayo Clinic; 2023.