Winter is Coming

Allergy UK shared Important Information: Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine and people with egg allergy

In the last week of October the NHS has launched their ‘Protect their future: Don’t wait to vaccinate’ campaign aimed at parents to highlight the benefits of immunisation and the risks of the diseases they protect children against. Allergy UK support this message and agree that it is in the child’s best interest to receive all of the necessary vaccinations, however we do also recognise that this can be a more complicated area for allergy sufferers.

Vaccinations are now available in different forms and they have received questions regarding the new nasal spray flu vaccination and whether it is safe for egg allergy sufferers.

Maureen Jenkins, Allergy UK’s Director of Clinical Services has confirmed: “The nasal flu spray is not safe for egg-allergic people. Egg allergy sufferers will need to have the traditional injection, which IS safe and can be given in primary care.”

Allergy UK hopes that this clears up some confusion and that people feel confident about which vaccination method to choose for their child. Please call Allergy UK’s helpline on 01322 619898 if you need further advice.


Accelerated development of a vaccine benefit-risk collaboration in Europe

On 13th November EFA board member Lina Buzermaniene took part in ADVANCE (Accelerated development of a vaccine benefit-risk collaboration in Europe) project WP1 kick-off meeting organized by EMA in London.

The project funded by the Innovative medicines Initiative aims at developing sustainable system for monitoring of benefit-risk of vaccines in Europe. This system should be able rapidly assess issues linked to vaccines, their effectiveness and concerns raised by the public, patients and health care professionals and help eliminate barriers for vaccination. Meeting was organized to understand and confront concerns, needs, views and priorities of the different stakeholder groups (regulators, public health authorities, manufacturers of vaccines, patients and health care professional) regarding the ADVANCE project.

Lina stressed the need of involving patients not only to benefit  and risk evaluation, but also in setting research topics and priorities, the importance of transparency of communication and comprehensive information to patients on safety of vaccines, especially to those having allergies and the possible benefit of studies on how vaccination impacts real life of vulnerable groups, including patients (with asthma, COPD).

The interested patient representatives, including from EFA, will be involved in further actions: developing best practice guidance and code of conduct for studies on the benefits and risks of vaccines that will be carried-out through an infrastructure of data sources.


EFA Participates in the Launch Event of the SAATI Report on vaccination

EFA’s Membership and Programme Officer, David Brennan, attended the event at the European Parliament (EP), hosted by MEPs Rebecca Taylor and Petru Luhan, launching the SAATI Report “Adult vaccination: a key component of a healthy ageing – The benefits of life-course immunisation in Europe” on 13 November. After the presentation of health priorities for the upcoming Greek EU Presidency, the EC Directorate General for Health and Consumers, DG SANCO referred to vaccines as among the most effective types of public interventions. Concern was expressed at the low awareness among patients to the potential benefits of vaccinations for them as well as their children and better access was emphasised as a necessity for Europe.

The SAATI Report was presented by SAATI Chair, Professor Javier Garau, who confirmed the low rate of vaccinations among older Europeans was a stimulus for the report’s production. It successfully provides individual country insights with its structure and findings based upon SAATI partner research. The key findings point to preventable disease as proving to be a burden for aging societies which is largely underestimated. One of the studies, a case study in the Netherlands, showed that for every €1 invested in adult vaccination (from 50 years of age) would yield about €4 of future economic revenue for the government. The SAATI partners recommend expanding opportunities for vaccination, strengthening health literacy, enhancing surveillance and improving leadership of health professionals on the issue of vaccination.

In speaking about his traumatic experience of his daughter passing away from whooping cough within the first weeks of her life, Danny Darche stressed the importance of making information for vaccination accessible to people to defer scepticism and dispel common myths. His experience pointed to the overloading of general practitioners with leaflets, improbability or disbelief in such rare occurrences being possible and general lack of knowledge as being sources for his anguishing experience. Hildred Sundseth, from the European Institute of Women’s Health, commented the testimony appropriately illustrates the problem with complacency in many places. On behalf of other SAATI members, she launched their call to action and appealed to those present not to let the focus on chronic diseases ignore the threat of infectious disease.

In discussions it was widely agreed people in Europe sometimes no longer fear diseases, but rather,  vaccines because they are no longer seeing infectious disease. Even in hospitals where vaccinations are offered free to employees who may volunteer to use them, many opt not to ever have one. As a result, increasing communication on the benefits of vaccinations balanced with the risks was seen as crucial and a strategy to comprehensively address needs for vaccination should be created.


American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology informs about the flu shots and egg allergy

All children should have flu shots, even if they have an egg allergy, and it’s now safe to get them without special precautions according to  the latest update on the safety of the flu vaccine for allergic patients, published in the October issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the official journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

The current recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is to observe children allergic to eggs for 30 minutes after a flu shot. Also to have the shot under the care of a primary care provider, if the reaction to eating eggs is only hives, or an allergist, if the reaction to eating eggs is more serious.

However, “In a large number of research studies published over the last several years, thousands of egg allergic children, including those with a severe life-threatening reaction to eating eggs, have received injectable influenza vaccine (IIV) as a single dose without a reaction” said allergist John Kelso, MD, fellow of the ACAAI.

This update, endorsed by the AAAAI/ACAAI Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters, concludes that based upon the available data, “Special precautions regarding medical setting and waiting periods after administration of IIV to egg-allergic recipients beyond those recommended for any vaccine are not warranted. For IIV, language that describes egg-allergic recipients as being at increased risk compared with non-egg-allergic recipients or requiring special precautions should be removed from guidelines and product labeling.”

“The benefits of the flu vaccination far outweigh any risk,” said Dr. Kelso. “As with any vaccine, all personnel and facilities administering flu shots should have procedures in place for the rare instance of anaphylaxis, a severe life-threatening allergic reaction. If you have questions or concerns, contact your allergist.”

Egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children. By age 16, about 70 percent of children outgrow their egg allergy. Most allergic reactions to egg involve the skin. In fact, egg allergy is the most common food allergy in babies and young children with eczema.

Further, the flu is responsible for the hospitalization of more than 21,100 children under the age of five annually, yet only two thirds of children receive the vaccination each year. Some go unvaccinated because of egg allergy.

ACAAI also advises the more than 25.7 million Americans with asthma to receive the flu vaccination. Because the flu and asthma are both respiratory conditions, asthmatics may experience more frequent and severe asthma attacks while they have the flu.

Click here to access the article.


IPCRG publishes abstracts of studies on flu, vaccinations & others

This month, International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG) through its Flu At@Grance platform started to publish abstracts of studies related to topics such as influenza, vaccinations and to related patient safety. Until today, three out of twelve planned abstracts were published. 

1.       You can make a difference! Doctors’ recommendations lead to 53% rise in parental vaccination rates

An Australian research group added questions about parental vaccination history into routine general practice visits for vaccinations of their infants and children under 4 years. Practice nurses undertook this role and recorded parents’ vaccination history for several vaccines. Then GPs recommended vaccines according to their national guidelines. As a result, 66% of parents were advised that they should be vaccinated.Of these parents, 53% complied which led to a 33.9-68.9% improvement in vaccine coverage rates. The researchers concluded that during consultations for childhood vaccinations it is worthwhile for GPs to take a vaccination history from the parents and to recommend parental vaccination.

2.       No unusual adverse effects after influenza A (H1N1) 2009 vaccination in pregnant women


Analysis reports of adverse influenza A vaccination (H1N1) effects from the American VAERS database found that both the live attenuated influenza vaccine and the trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine, when administered to pregnant women, showed no association with any unusual complications in pregnancy or adverse effects on the fetus.

3.       Influenza vaccination in pregnancy improves the chances of a healthy baby


A Canadian study, based on a database that included 55,570 women who gave birth during the 2009-2010 influenza pandemic, investigated the effect of the vaccination on their babies. 42% of them were vaccinated against H1N1 during the second or third trimester. Vaccinated mothers had lower chances of delivering small for gestational age babies, pre-term birth and fetal mortality compared to unvaccinated women. The researchers concluded that vaccination during pregnancy during the influenza pandemic was associated with better neonatal outcomes and that there is a need for more research to further elucidate this conclusion.

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