Flu Shot, ACAAI

So I got my flu shot yesterday. I know, big whoop. But I'm always a bit nervous about getting it. I'm not egg allergic but I am skin sensitive (never had any reaction, other than a sore arm for a day). And I get it every year as I'm in a higher risk group because my other alias is: Asthma Girl.

So, did you get yours yet? Concerned about allergic reactions? Here's a press release from The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI):


Patients with Vaccine Allergy May Be Safely Vaccinated Following New Guidelines

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill., October 8, 2009 – An apparent allergic reaction after an immunization should be investigated rather than avoiding future immunizations, which could leave patients at greater risk of disease, according to new medical guidelines published in the October issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

There are approximately 235 million doses of vaccines administered in the United States each year, and only 1 dose per million causes anaphylaxis, a serious medical reaction. Fatalities from vaccine-induced anaphylaxis are exceedingly rare.

“Local, injection site reactions and constitutional symptoms, especially fever, are common after vaccinations and do not contraindicate future doses,” said John M. Kelso, M.D., Division of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology at Scripps Clinic in San Diego, Calif., and a chief editor of the practice parameter.

Dr. Kelso and colleagues recommend that all serious events occurring after vaccine administration should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) at www.vaers.hhs.gov established by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Possible associations of the reaction to the vaccine can then be evaluated for causation.

All suspected anaphylactic reactions to vaccines should be evaluated by an allergist to determine the culprit allergen. An allergist, an expert in the diagnosis and treatment allergies and asthma, can perform allergy testing to identify the specific substances that trigger allergic reactions and determine the most appropriate and effective treatment.

Allergic, or IgE-mediated reactions to vaccines are more often caused by vaccine components rather than the immunizing agent itself. Vaccine components that may cause allergic reactions include gelatin or egg protein, and rarely, yeast, latex (contained in vial stoppers or syringe plungers), neomycin and thimerosal.

“Gelatin, which is added to many vaccines as a stabilizer, is either bovine or porcine, which are extensively cross-reactive. We recommend that a history of allergy to the ingestion of gelatin should be sought before administering a gelatin-containing vaccine,” Dr. Kelso said.

“The MMR (measles and mumps vaccines) and one type of rabies vaccine contain negligible or no egg protein, and can be administered to egg allergic children without prior skin testing. Egg protein is present in higher amounts in yellow fever and influenza vaccines and may cause reactions in egg-allergic patients, who should be evaluated by an allergist prior to receiving these vaccines.

“However rare, if a patient gives a history of an immediate-type reaction to yeast, latex, neomycin or thimerosal, we recommend that it be investigated with skin testing before immunization with a vaccine containing these constituents,” he said.

If the vaccine is warranted for an allergic individual, evaluation may determine that it can be administered in the office of an allergy specialist who is prepared to treat for an emergency if needed.

“Persons with a history of allergy to egg or a past reaction to an influenza vaccine may still be able to receive the H1N1 vaccine or the seasonal flu vaccine safely. I believe that anyone with this concern should check with their doctor and consult with an allergist,” said James T. Li, M.D., professor of medicine and chair, Division of Allergy and Immunology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and a chief editor of the practice parameter.

The practice parameter titled “Adverse Reactions to Vaccines,” was developed by the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters, representing the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) and the Joint Council of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. The Joint Task Force practice parameters are online at www.allergyparameters.org.


The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) is a professional medical organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill., that promotes excellence in the practice of the subspecialty of allergy and immunology. The College, comprising more than 5,000 allergists-immunologists and related health care professionals, fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research.

To learn more about allergies and asthma and to find an allergist, visit www.AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org.



Unknown said…
Getting your doctor or health professional to report your adverse reaction on VAERS can be difficult. They may refuse, even though they are supposed to report all reactions/illnesses that occur within 30 days of your vaccination. They may feel it is unrelated or would be bad for the vaccination/medical industry (eg. if your child regressed in speech they would not want to report it.)

If you are not able to get your health professional to report your reaction, you can report it yourself here:


If you are not in the US, look into your country's reporting system. You can report a vaccination reaction even if it is years later.
Marketing Mama said…
My daughter is severely allergic to egg and I don't want her anywhere near the flu shot. I don't care if it's in the doctor's office or how much they'll tell me they'll investigate it.

I've seen her have such awful reactions that I never want to go through that willingly. Also, the mercury in those shots scares the hell out of me. I'm already delaying her other mercury-vaccines because I am worried she's more succeptable to being affected by it - and scared of autism, etc.

Just found your blog today through Twitter. Glad I did.
angela auclair said…
i am reading, reading, reading - my year old son was dx'd with severe egg, milk protein ( not so severe, just meesy;)) and peanut allergies this month. The FIRST thing the allergist noted on my mommy paper was no flu shots. In capital letters. Sigh. I am thankful that we had the testing when we did ( GP referred me at 12 months , pediatrician wanted me to wait till age 2 ) , as he would have received the H1N1 shot this season. And the thought of what the reaction could have been frightens me terribly. The allergist also strongly suggested that anyone surrounding this child get the vaccination to help him remain protected this season. I am not concerned about the chance of autism - we have two aspies in our family, one who received vacs and one who didn't. The genetic link concerns me more than a mercury one. But that is our experience. Great blog - thanks:).

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