Eggs and influenza, what’s the connection?

Burnet Institute

28 May, 2019

Severe egg allergies may affect how you get the flu vaccine

With a deadly flu season taking hold in Australia, medical researchers including Burnet Institute’s Emeritus Professor Gregory Tannock have shared their expertise to address misconceptions about the influenza vaccination.

In an article published on ABC News Online, Professor Tannock said people receiving the flu vaccine will be asked about an egg allergy.

“About 90 per cent of influenza vaccines use, as starting materials, influenza viruses grown in the allantoic sac of 10- to 11-day-old fertile eggs,“ Professor Tannock said.

Professor Tannock says the vaccine cultivated in eggs is because a virus needs to infect a cell to reproduce.

This can result in residual egg protein in the flu vaccine. Fortunately, most people who are born with an egg allergy outgrow it by the time they reach primary school age.

The amount of egg protein used in making the vaccine, Professor Tannock says, is less than one microgram per dose.

For people who have an anaphylactic reaction to eggs, vaccinations are administered in a medical facility where they can be monitored afterwards.

Egg allergy and flu vaccine

Image: Only a small amount of egg protein is used in making the vaccine

Other questions on the flu vaccine answered:

What is the best flu vaccine for me?

  • Best flu vaccine for over those over 65 and under five years old is the free one offered by the Government
  • Paid vaccines at GP clinics, pharmacies or offered by employers are fine for fit and healthy population

Can I get the flu vaccine if I’m not feeling well?

  • Vaccine is ok to administer if you have a cough or runny nose
  • High fever will prevent you from receiving it

Why am I feeling sick the day after?

  • Around 10 per cent of people will feel a ‘bit off’ for a few days after the vaccination
  • Feeling unwell after receiving the vaccination is a sign it is working

Read the full article here

Staff Member



Health Issue

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Professor Gregory Tannock

Emeritus Professor, Burnet Institute Visiting Fellow




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