Can I get the flu vaccine if I'm allergic to eggs?
Answer From Pritish K. Tosh, M.D.
Yes, you can. Some flu vaccines are made using eggs. As a result, the vaccines have tiny amounts of egg proteins in them. However, this doesn't mean that if you're allergic to eggs you can't get a flu shot. You can still get a flu vaccine if you have an egg allergy.
If you only have a mild egg allergy, it's still safe to get a flu shot. 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 cases, if you've had a severe reaction to eggs in the past, your doctor may suggest you get your flu shot in a medical setting from a doctor trained in allergies.
A skin test may be needed to see if you're truly allergic to eggs. A nurse or doctor will scratch a tiny amount of egg protein on your skin and watch to see if your skin reacts to it.
If the skin test is positive, you'll still likely be able to get the flu vaccine. Your doctor may want you to wait 30 minutes before leaving, in case you have a reaction.
Oct. 08, 2020
Pritish K. Tosh, M.D.
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- Plotkins S, et al., eds. Inactivated influenza vaccines. In: Plotkin's Vaccines. 7th ed. Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 14, 2019.
- Tozandehjani S, et al. Safety of inactivated influenza vaccine in patients with egg allergy in Kurdistan Province, Iran. Iranian Journal of Public Health. 2019; 48:758.
- Grohskopf LA, et al. Prevention and control of seasonal influenza with vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, 2020-2021 influenza season. MMWR Recommendations and Reports. 2020; doi: 10.15585/mmwr.rr6908a1.
- AskMayoExpert. Influenza vaccination. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2020.