Tag: food allergies

Vaccine Allergies

The Cervarix HPV vaccine lists latex as an ingredient - in the tip caps.
Cervarix tip caps contain natural rubber latex and can be a problem if your child has an anaphylactic reaction to latex.

Can you be allergic to a vaccine?

Of course.

In fact, having a severe, life-threatening allergy to a vaccine is one of the main reasons to not get vaccinated.

Specifically, guidelines usually state that you should not get vaccinated:

  • if you have a severe allergy to any component of the vaccine
  • if you have had had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine

Fortunately, these types of serious allergic reactions are very rare. In fact, most kids with egg allergies can even get a flu shot, something unheard of just a few years ago.

How rare?

The WHO states that “The rate of anaphylaxis has been documented to be variable, with a rate of 3.5 to 10 per million doses following a measles-containing vaccine.”

Rates of 0.65 to 1.53 cases per million doses have also been reported when including more commonly used vaccines.

Vaccine Allergy Myths

Still, instead of true vaccine allergies leading to problems, it is much more common for misinformation about vaccine allergies to scare parents away from getting their kids vaccinated.

Some of the most common vaccine allergy myths include that:

  • you can’t get vaccinated if you have a history of a penicillin allergy, cephalosporin allergy, or sulfa drug allergy – you can
  • you can’t get vaccinated if you have non-vaccine allergies, have relatives with allergies, or are receiving allergy shots – you can
  • you can’t get vaccinated if you have a latex allergy that is not anaphylactic – you can
  • you can’t get the MMR vaccine if you have an egg allergy – you can
  • you can’t get the flu vaccine if you have an egg allergy – you can, although your pediatrician will observe your child for 30 minutes if he has a severe egg allergy
  • vaccines are causing a peanut allergy epidemic – they aren’t and you can get vaccinated if you have a peanut allergy.

And know that vaccines don’t actually cause allergies.

Allergies and Vaccine Components

Components of vaccines can rarely trigger allergic reactions, including:

  • antibiotics – but these aren’t antibiotics that are commonly used anymore, like Amoxil. Instead, some vaccines contain residual amounts of either gentamicin, neomycin, polymyxin B, or streptomycin. And anyway, the small amounts that could be leftover in the vaccine aren’t known to trigger allergic reactions.
  • eggs – while your child with an egg allergy can get the flu shot, and then being observed as a precaution, the yellow fever vaccine could still be an issue
  • gelatin – some vaccines use gelatin, like in Jell-O, as a stabilizer
  • latex – if your child has a severe (anaphylactic) allergy to latex, you should likely avoid vaccines supplied in vials or syringes that contain natural rubber latex
  • yeast – although they aren’t thought to be an issue for kids with yeast allergies, a few vaccines can have residual amounts of yeast in them

What about aluminum? Some recent studies, including one in Pediatrics, “Case Report of Subcutaneous Nodules and Sterile Abscesses Due to Delayed Type Hypersensitivity to Aluminum-Containing Vaccines,” do suggest that aluminum can very rarely cause a non-anaphylactic delayed type IV hypersensitivity reaction. These children could have persistent redness and nodules at the site of vaccination for weeks or months when an aluminum containing vaccine is given.

Fortunately, these are mild, non-life-threatening reactions and aren’t a reason to stop vaccinating your child. And, as another study reported, “Unexpected loss of contact allergy to aluminum induced by vaccine,” many of these children outgrow their allergy.

Keep in mind that persistent hard nodules can also be caused by irritation and may not be an allergic reaction at all.

What To Know About Vaccine Allergies

The 2011 IOM report, “Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality,” while concluding that most vaccines, including MMR, varicella, flu, hepatitis B, tetanus, meningococcal, and HPV could cause anaphylaxis,  stated that “It appears likely to the committee that the risk of anaphylaxis caused by vaccines is exceedingly low in the general population.”

Do you think that your child has an allergy keeping him from getting vaccinated?

Talk to your pediatrician or a pediatric allergist. They can review the “Algorithm for treatment of patients with hypersensitivity reactions after vaccines,” which “provides a rational and organized approach for the evaluation and treatment of patients with suspected hypersensitivity.”

This is especially important if you think that your child is allergic to all vaccines, something that is almost unheard of, as vaccines have different components and are made in different ways.

For More Information on Vaccine Allergies

Updated May 2, 2017

Vaccines and Egg Allergies

Which vaccines do you have to skip if you are allergic to eggs?

Many people are surprised that the answer is that you probably don’t have to skip any vaccines.

Although some vaccines are made in eggs and may contain residual egg proteins, the latest studies show that they can safely be given to kids with egg allergies.

That wasn’t always the case though.

Some pediatricians and parents likely still remember when the recommendation for the MMR vaccine was that:

  • Persons with a history of anaphylactic reactions (hives, swelling of the mouth and throat, difficulty in breathing, hypotension, and shock) following egg ingestion should be vaccinated only with extreme caution.(1989 MMR recommendation)

Of course, now, experts say that “Although measles and mumps components of the vaccine are grown in chick embryo fibroblast tissue culture, allergy to egg is not a contraindication to vaccination.”

Similarly, the warnings and recommendations about egg allergies and flu vaccines have changes over the years. From previous warnings about avoiding the flu vaccine, experts now say that:

  • Persons with a history of egg allergy who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg should receive flu vaccine.
  • Persons with a history of a severe egg allergy can still get a flu vaccine, but they should be vaccinated “in an inpatient or outpatient medical setting (including, but not necessarily limited to hospitals, clinics, health departments, and physician offices). Vaccine administration should be supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions.”

Recommendations about the yellow fever vaccine haven’t changed though. Talk to your pediatrician if your child has an egg allergy and needs the yellow fever vaccine for travel. You will likely need to see an allergist to get vaccinated.

For More Information on Vaccines and Egg Allergies:

 

References for Vaccines and Egg Allergies:
Measles Prevention: Recommendations of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP) . December 29, 1989 / 38(S-9);1-18.

Chick Embryos and Vaccines

There are no chick embryos in vaccines.

Some vaccines, like MMR, are made or are grown in chick embryo fibroblast cells.

Others, like most flu vaccines and the yellow fever vaccine, are actually grown in the allantoic sacs of chick embryos.

But just like vaccines that are grown in baker’s yeast, most of the egg proteins are removed as the vaccine antigens are removed and purified.

For more information:

Yeast in Vaccines

Yeast in vaccines?

Yes, a few vaccines may contain trace amounts of yeast proteins.

Why?

Those vaccines are actually made in baker’s yeast (the growth medium), kind of like other vaccines are grown in cell cultures, etc. And although most of the yeast proteins are removed as the vaccine antigens are removed and purified, some residual yeast proteins remain in the vaccine.

For more information: