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Egg allergy and Mumps, Measles and Rubella (MMR) Vaccination in Children

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Frequently asked questions:
I have heard that MMR vaccine contains egg products.

Will my child react to the MMR vaccine if he/she is allergic to egg?
The MMR vaccine can be safely given to children who have a severe allergy to egg. This is because MMR vaccine is grown on chick cells, not the egg white or yolk. A number of scientific studies have been published looking into the safety of giving the MMR vaccine to children with egg allergy. After an extensive literature review, the latest recommendation of the Paediatric Allergy Group of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) and the Royal College of Physicians is that:

“MMR can be safely given in primary care (Out of hospital setting) to ALL egg allergic children UNLESS there has been a previous severe reaction to any previous vaccine.”

There is no greater risk of an allergic reaction in those with an egg allergy than those who do not have an egg allergy.

Because egg allergy runs in our family, I have not given any egg product to my child. Do I need to test him/her for egg allergy before having the MMR vaccine?

No special measures need to be taken in any children who have never been given egg before having the MMR immunisation. The fact that other members of a family have egg allergy does not necessarily mean your child has an allergy to egg. Skin testing is not effective in determining who would or would not react to the vaccine. There is therefore no benefit in testing a child before
he/she is vaccinated.

Where should your child have the vaccine? Do you need to go to hospital to receive the vaccine?

ALL Children with an egg allergy can be safely given the MMR vaccine in Primary Care UNLESS there has been a previous severe reaction to any vaccine. Those with a previous history of a severe reaction need to be assessed by a paediatrician to determine whether or not they can safely receive the vaccine in Primary Care.

Can my child have the MMR vaccine if he/she is allergic to other foods such as milk, dairy product, etc?

The presence of allergy to other foods in an individual does not mean they are more likely to have a reaction to the MMR vaccine. If you still have any concerns then speak to your family doctor (GP), Practice Nurse or Health Visitor who will give you more information and can contact the specialist at the hospital for further advice if required.

References:
1. Khakoo GA, Lack G. Recommendations for using MMR vaccine in children allergic to eggs. BMJ 320, April 2000 pages 929-932
2. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pages/mmr-questionsanswers.aspx
3. BSACI Paediatric Allergy group recommendations for MMR vaccination in egg-allergic children 2007.
4. Immunisation against infectious disease – ‘The Green book’ Department of Health. Accessed 29/9/15 from https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/147968/Green-Book-Chapter-21-v2_0.pdf