Egg-Free Flu Vaccine Coming to Your Neighborhood This Flu Season

A new flu vaccine is coming for the 2013-2014 flu season to provide an immunization option for those with a history of allergic reactions to eggs.

Approved by the FDA in January, it is the only completely egg-free flu vaccine available and it will be making its debut during the upcoming season.

According to the previous algorithm for determining how people with egg allergies should be vaccinated, those who had a history of only hives upon exposure to egg were recommended to get inactivated influenza vaccine followed by an observation period of at least 30 minutes after administration to watch for reactions. Those who had a history of some other reaction aside from hives — such as cardiovascular changes, respiratory distress, gastrointestinal symptoms, and reactions requiring epinephrine or emergency medical attention — were recommended to see a physician with expertise in management of allergic conditions for further evaluation.

For the upcoming season — following a unanimous vote by ACIP — this new shot will be listed as an alternative in both scenarios, assuming the individual falls within the approved age range of 18 to 49.

A reference to RIV3 also will be made in added language referring to people who do not have a history of egg allergy but who may be at risk based on previously performed allergy testing. In that case, “consultation with a physician with expertise in the management of allergic conditions should be obtained prior to vaccination” or, if age appropriate, RIV3 can be given.

At the last meeting of ACIP in February, the committee approved the addition of four recently approved flu vaccines to the guidance for the 2013-2014 season. On Thursday, Sanofi Pasteur’s Fluzone Quadrivalent — approved by the FDA earlier this month — was added, as well. It is the only quadrivalent flu vaccine approved for use in children younger than 2.

All of the quadrivalent vaccines will protect against two A strains — H1N1 and H3N2 — and two B strains — one from the Yamagata lineage and one from the Victoria lineage.

+ Find a primary care physician administering flu shots near you!

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