ACAAI: Influenza Vaccines May Vary in Allergen Amounts

Individuals with allergies who tolerated a flu vaccine in the past may not in future

MONDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals with egg or gelatin allergies should not assume that because they previously tolerated the H1N1 influenza or seasonal influenza (SI) vaccine, future tolerance is guaranteed, as vaccines vary in the amount of allergenic components they contain, according to a study presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from Nov. 11 to 16 in Phoenix.

Amber M. Patterson, M.D., and Roger A. Friedman, M.D., of The Ohio State University in Columbus, presented two cases of adverse reaction to H1N1 vaccine after previous tolerance of SI immunization.

The investigators found that one previously egg-allergic male tolerated the SI vaccine well. However, three weeks later, the individual received the H1N1 vaccine and experienced an itchy, swollen throat; a runny nose; and some shortness of breath. Another patient, a non-egg-allergic 8-year-old female who previously tolerated the SI vaccine, experienced adverse reactions after receiving the SI and H1N1 vaccines this year. Specific IgE testing of the child revealed sensitivity to both beef and porcine gelatin. The investigators concluded that SI and H1N1 vaccine lots may vary in the amount of allergenic components, which makes it unsafe to assume tolerance between different lots.

"We suggest that any egg- or gelatin-allergic patient or anyone with history of severe reaction to any type of influenza vaccine should be tested to the specific vaccine lot number they will be given prior to immunization or graded drug-challenge. Do not assume that egg- or gelatin-allergic patients who have tolerated influenza vaccine in the past will tolerate it again," the authors write.

Abstract No. P197
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