Can you get vaccines if you have a latex allergy?
“Dry, natural rubber is used in the tip of syringe plungers, the tip on prefilled syringes, vial stoppers,” and could cause a problem for some people with latex allergies.
Latex Allergies and Vaccines
According to the ACIP:
If a person reports a severe (anaphylactic) allergy to latex, vaccines supplied in vials or syringes that contain natural rubber latex should not be administered unless the benefit of vaccination clearly outweighs the risk for a potential allergic reaction. In these cases, providers should be prepared to treat patients who are having an allergic reaction.
For latex allergies other than anaphylactic allergies (e.g., a history of contact allergy to latex gloves), vaccines supplied in vials or syringes that contain dry, natural rubber or natural rubber latex may be administered.General Recommendations on Immunization: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
Many vaccines use synthetic rubber or synthetic latex though, so getting vaccinated with one of these vaccines would be a good alternative if your child has a severe allergy to latex.
Keep in mind that you aren’t supposed to simply remove the latex stopper from a vaccine vial to try and avoid triggering an anaphylactic reaction. Still, that did work for one patient in the case report Anaphylaxis after hepatitis B vaccination though. She got her second dose using “rubber free technique” and didn’t have a reaction.
Most importantly, keep in mind that vaccine allergies because of latex don’t seem to be a big problem.
One study Vaccination of persons allergic to latex: a review of safety data in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), in the journal Vaccine “revealed only 28 cases of possible immediate-type hypersensitivity reactions in vaccine recipients with a history of allergy to latex.” And only two of those required hospitalization.
Vaccines and Latex
If your child has had a severe anaphylactic allergy to latex, you might need to avoid these vaccines with latex:
- Adacel and Boostrix
- Engerix B and Recombivax
- Havrix and Vaqta
- Flucelvax, Fluad and Fluvirin
Again, unless it is an anaphylactic reaction, your child can get these vaccines. And check the latest package insert to see if they still contain latex.
More on Latex Allergies and Vaccines
- CDC– Latex in Vaccine Packaging
- Allergens in Vaccines
- CDC – Conditions Commonly Misperceived as Contraindications to Vaccination
- ACIP – General Recommendations on Immunization: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
- Anaphylaxis after hepatitis B vaccination.
- Study – Vaccination of persons allergic to latex: a review of safety data in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)
- Ask the Experts About Precautions and Contraindications
- Risk of anaphylaxis to latex from injection obtained from rubber-stoppered vials
- Allergen Immunotherapy and Latex Allergy