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Allergic reaction does not rule out future vaccines

Friday October 30th, 2009

By Jane Collingwood
Experts say that children who have an allergic reaction to one vaccine should be examined and might be able to have other vaccines.

It is common at the moment to avoid giving subsequent immunisations after an allergic reaction.

But Dr John Kelso of Scripps Clinic in San Diego, California, USA, and his team say this could leave people at greater risk of infection, and might not be necessary.

In new medical guidelines published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, he writes that only one in every million vaccine causes the serious medical reaction called anaphylaxis. Deaths are very rare.

He says that small allergic reactions at the injection site, and symptoms such as fever, are common after vaccinations and "do not contraindicate future doses".

He recommends that all serious events after a vaccination are reported so that possible risks can be identified, and that an allergist is brought in to carry out allergy testing and decide on a treatment.

These allergic reactions are usually caused by components of the vaccine including gelatin or egg protein, and rarely, yeast, latex (contained in vial stoppers or syringe plungers), neomycin and thimerosal.

Dr Kelso added: "The MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and one type of rabies vaccine contain negligible or no egg protein, and can be administered to egg allergic children without prior skin testing."

These children may also be able to receive the H1N1 vaccine or the seasonal flu vaccine safely. Anyone who is concerned should check with their doctor and an allergist.

The Joint Task Force on Practice parameters. Adverse reactions to vaccines. Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Vol. 103, October 2009. No. 4, Supp. 2, pp.1-14.

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Child Health | Dermatology | Flu & Viruses | North America | Pharmaceuticals

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