Egg-Free Flu Vaccine Appears to Work for Kids

In healthy kids, an egg-free flu vaccine appeared to be safe and effective

(RxWiki News) An egg-free vaccine for the flu appears to be safe and healthy for kids, according to a new study.

And that's potentially great news for parents of kids who are allergic to eggs.

Health officials recommend that all children and adults receive an annual flu vaccine after six months of age, but children who are allergic to eggs sometimes cannot receive the flu vaccine. That's because most flu vaccines are made with egg proteins.

While these proteins are unlikely to trigger an allergic reaction, it is still possible, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Some flu vaccines that do not contain egg proteins have been developed, but the authors of the recent study of one such vaccine wrote that there have been concerns about these egg-free vaccines' effectiveness.

However, the recent study of the novel cell-culture-derived quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV4c) found that the ability to derive a vaccine from something other than egg proteins might actually make this vaccine more effective. That's because certain mutations in the flu virus might enable it to adapt to certain aspects of the egg proteins used in standard flu vaccines.

To study the effectiveness of IIV4C, researchers administered it or a different trial vaccine to more than 4,500 participants. Over at least 180 days, only 7.8 percent of those who received the IIV4C vaccine contracted influenza. That's compared to 16.2 percent in the group that received the trial vaccine.

Overall, IIV4C provided protection from the flu in healthy children, the study found.

“IIV4c provided protection against laboratory-confirmed influenza in healthy children and adolescents across three seasons, regardless of previous influenza vaccination,” the study authors wrote. “Influenza vaccine manufacturing platforms that do not rely on eggs offer certain advantages, including avoidance of egg-adaptive hemagglutinin mutations and a shorter response time when a new influenza virus emerges.”

Talk to your health care provider about the best flu vaccine for you and your family.

This study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Information about study funding sources or potential conflicts of interest wasn't available at the time of publication.

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Review Date: 
February 24, 2022