Opinions differ on flu shot for children with egg allergies

A medical association of allergy experts recently reported that children with severe egg allergies should still be given the seasonal influenza vaccine.

The vaccine is grown in chicken eggs, so manufacturers have recommended that it not be given to the approximately two percent of children with egg allergies. The allergy experts, however, said only trace amounts of egg protein remain in the vaccine and the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks, according to the New York Times.

Dr. James L. Sublett, the chair of the public relations committee of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, said that influenza hospitalizes 21,000 young children every year. He said his association recommends that children who have gone into anaphylactic shock from eating eggs should get flu shots, but only from an allergist trained to handle such emergencies.

The rival American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has a slightly different set of recommendations. Its website says that children whose only reaction to egg is hives should have a flu shot, but only in a pediatrician's office and with a 30-minute observation period afterward, the New York Times reports.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's position is that those with a reaction to eggs should consult with their doctor to determine the relative benefits and risks of vaccination.