What Vaccines Are Safe for People Allergic to Eggs?

3 vaccines may be risky

Hispanic boy getting a shot at doctor's office
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Three vaccines, including those for yellow fever, influenza, and rabies, contain small amounts of egg protein because they're cultured either in eggs or in chick embryos. This raises a potential concern for people who are allergic to egg protein.

However, even in the three vaccines considered to be potentially problematic for egg-allergic people, each vaccine contains different levels of egg protein. Therefore, some are considered safer for people with egg allergies than others. Also, egg-free alternatives exist for two of the vaccines.

Other recommended vaccines, including the measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine and Pneumovax 23 vaccine, are not considered a risk for those with egg allergy. While MMR is made in chicken fibroblast cells, it contains no traces of egg.

Here are the details for each of the three vaccines containing small amounts of egg protein.

Rabies Vaccine and Egg Allergies

Rabies is a dangerous virus transmitted through bites from infected animals. Once symptoms begin, the disease is almost always fatal.

There are various different vaccines on the market for rabies that can be administered after you've been exposed to the virus. However, most of the vaccines are cultured in chicken embryos and aren't considered safe for people who have severe egg allergies.

Fortunately, there is one option for the egg-allergic: Imovax, which is not cultured in chick embryos.

Flu Shots and Egg Allergies

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone ages six months and older should get an annual flu shot. However, people with egg allergies need to take special precautions, since almost all influenza vaccines are cultured in chicken eggs.

There's one flu vaccine—Flublok, made by Protein Sciences Corporation—that does not use chicken eggs during manufacturing. Flublok is approved for anyone ages 18 and up, so if you're allergic to eggs and fall into that age range, you should ask specifically for Flublok.

The CDC recommends that people with a history of egg allergy of any severity should receive any licensed, recommended age appropriate vaccine. Only those with a history of severe allergic reaction to egg ( i.e., any symptoms other than hives) should be vaccinated in an inpatient or outpatient medical setting, under the supervision of a healthcare provider with expertise in handling severe allergic reactions. However, studies showed that severe allergic reaction in people with egg allergies are very rare.

Yellow Fever Vaccine and Egg Allergies

Yellow fever is a severe, mosquito-borne illness common in parts of South America and Africa. The disease has a high death rate, and you need to be vaccinated against yellow fever in order to travel to certain countries.

However, all yellow fever vaccines are cultured in eggs, and healthcare providers advise those with a history of severe allergic reactions to avoid the vaccine. Those with milder allergic reactions may be able to handle the yellow fever shot, or it's also possible to have allergy testing done with the vaccine itself to see whether you might be able to handle it.

MMR Vaccine and Egg Allergies

The MMR vaccine normally is given twice in childhood: once at 15 months, and again in a booster shot at ages four to six. This vaccine is considered safe for people who have even severe egg allergies.

The shot is cultured in chicken embryos, but no traces of egg protein remain in the finished product. Medical researchers have looked at the effects of the vaccine in children with egg allergies, and have found no allergic reactions resulted from getting the shot.

Note that research has shown it's safe for children with egg allergies to receive the MMR vaccine. Still, if you have concerns about it, you should talk to your child's pediatrician.

A Word From Verywell

As you can see, the risks of these three vaccines vary for those who are allergic to eggs, and there are alternatives to two of the three vaccines. Yellow fever is the most potentially problematic of the three, and unfortunately, there's no egg-free alternative.

If you have concerns about the potential risks of any recommended vaccination, talk to your healthcare provider about the safety of each individual vaccine. The type and severity of your reactions to eggs may determine if a certain vaccine is safe for you.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Chung EH. Vaccine allergiesClin Exp Vaccine Res. 2014;3(1):50-57. doi:10.7774/cevr.2014.3.1.50

  2. IMOVAX [package insert]. Swiftwater, PA: Sanofi Pasteur SA.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Who should and who should NOT get a flu vaccine.

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recombinant influenza (flu) vaccine.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yellow fever vaccine recommendations.

  6. Andersen DV, Jørgensen IM. MMR vaccination of children with egg allergy is safe. Dan Med J. 2013;60(2):A4573.

Additional Reading

By Jeanette Bradley
Jeanette Bradley is a noted food allergy advocate and author of the cookbook, "Food Allergy Kitchen Wizardry: 125 Recipes for People with Allergies"