US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - vaccination guidelines

This piece comes courtesy of John Scott:

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now list no less than 27 vaccinations that they feel are appropriate for US citizens.

Included on the site is a very long document detailing everything there is to know about the vacciantion process General Recommendations on Immunization: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Dec, 2006 whichincludes the following sections on allergic reactions:

Severe Allergy to Vaccine Components

Vaccine components can cause allergic reactions among certain recipients. These reactions can be local or systemic and can include mild-to-severe anaphylaxis or anaphylactic-like responses (e.g., generalized urticaria or hives, wheezing, swelling of the mouth and throat, difficulty breathing, hypotension, and shock). Allergic reactions might be caused by the vaccine antigen, residual animal protein, antimicrobial agents, preservatives, stabilizers, or other vaccine components (145). Components of each vaccine are listed in the respective package insert. An extensive listing of vaccine components, their use, and the vaccines that contain each component has been published (146) and is also available from CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (proposed).

The most common animal protein allergen is egg protein, which is found in influenza and yellow fever vaccines, which are prepared using embryonated chicken eggs. Ordinarily, persons who are able to eat eggs or egg products safely can receive these vaccines; persons with histories of anaphylactic or anaphylactic-like allergy to eggs or egg proteins should generally not receive these vaccines. Asking persons if they can eat eggs without adverse effects is a reasonable way to determine who might be at risk for allergic reactions from receiving yellow fever and influenza vaccines. A regimen for administering influenza vaccine to children with egg hypersensitivity and severe asthma has been developed (147).

Measles and mumps vaccine viruses are grown in chick embryo fibroblast tissue culture. Persons with a serious egg allergy can receive measles- or mumps-containing vaccines without skin testing or desensitization to egg protein (6). Rubella and varicella vaccines are grown in human diploid cell cultures and can safely be administered to persons with histories of severe allergy to eggs or egg proteins. The rare serious allergic reactions after measles or mumps vaccination or MMR are not believed to be caused by egg antigens, but to other components of the vaccine (e.g., gelatin) (148--151). MMR, MMRV, and their component vaccines and other vaccines contain hydrolyzed gelatin as a stabilizer. Extreme caution should be used when administering vaccines that contain gelatin to persons who have a history of an anaphylactic reaction to gelatin or gelatin-containing products. Before administering gelatin-containing vaccines to such persons, skin testing for sensitivity to gelatin can be considered. However, no specific protocols for this approach have been published.

Certain vaccines contain trace amounts of antimicrobial agents or other preservatives (e.g., neomycin or thimerosal) to which patients might be severely allergic. The information provided in the vaccine package insert should be reviewed carefully before deciding if the rare patient with such allergies should receive the vaccine. No licensed vaccine contains penicillin or penicillin derivatives.

Certain vaccines contain trace amounts of neomycin. Persons who have experienced anaphylactic reactions to neomycin should not receive these vaccines. Most often, neomycin allergy is a contact dermatitis, a manifestation of a delayed type (cell-mediated) immune response, rather than anaphylaxis (152,153). A history of delayed type reactions to neomycin is not a contraindication for administration of these vaccines.

Thimerosal is an organic mercurial compound in use since the 1930s and is added to certain immunobiologic products as a preservative. A joint statement issued by the U.S. Public Health Service and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 1999 (154) and agreed to by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) later in 1999, established the goal of removing thimerosal as soon as possible from vaccines routinely recommended for infants. Although no evidence exists of any harm caused by low levels of thimerosal in vaccines and the risk was only theoretical (155), this goal was established as a precautionary measure.

The public is concerned about the health effects of mercury exposure of any type, and the elimination of mercury from vaccines was judged a feasible means of reducing an infant's total exposure to mercury in a world where other environmental sources of exposure are more difficult or impossible to eliminate (e.g., common foods like tuna). Since mid-2001, vaccines routinely recommended for infants have been manufactured without thimerosal as a preservative. Live-attenuated vaccines have never contained thimerosal. Thimerosal-free formulations of inactivated influenza vaccine are available. Inactivated influenza vaccine also is available in formulations with trace thimerosal, in which thimerosal no longer functions as a preservative, and in formulations that contain thimerosal. Thimerosal that acts as a preservative is present in certain other vaccines that can be administered to children (e.g., Td and DT). Information about the thimerosal content of vaccines is available from FDA.

Receiving thimerosal-containing vaccines might lead to induction of allergy. However, limited scientific basis exists for this assertion (145). Allergy to thimerosal usually consists of local delayed type hypersensitivity reactions (156--158). Thimerosal elicits positive delayed type hypersensitivity patch tests in 1%--18% of persons tested, but these tests have limited or no clinical relevance (159--160). The majority of persons do not experience reactions to thimerosal administered as a component of vaccines even when patch or intradermal tests for thimerosal indicate hypersensitivity (160). A localized or delayed type hypersensitivity reaction to thimerosal is not a contraindication to receipt of a vaccine that contains thimerosal.

Latex Allergy

Latex is sap from the commercial rubber tree. Latex contains naturally occurring impurities (e.g., plant proteins and peptides) that might be responsible for allergic reactions. Latex is processed to form natural rubber latex and dry natural rubber. Dry natural rubber and natural rubber latex might contain the same plant impurities as latex but in lesser amounts. Natural rubber latex is used to produce medical gloves, catheters, and other products. Dry natural rubber is used in syringe plungers, vial stoppers, and injection ports on intravascular tubing. Synthetic rubber and synthetic latex also are used in medical gloves, syringe plungers, and vial stoppers. Synthetic rubber and synthetic latex do not contain natural rubber or natural latex and do not contain the impurities linked to allergic reactions. Latex or dry natural rubber used in vaccine packaging is generally noted in the manufacturer's package insert.

The most common type of latex sensitivity is contact-type (type 4) allergy, usually as a result of prolonged contact with latex-containing gloves (161). However, injection-procedure--associated latex allergies among patients with diabetes mellitus have been described (162--164). Allergic reactions (including anaphylaxis) after vaccination procedures are rare (165). Only one known report of an allergic reaction after administering HepB to a patient with known severe allergy (anaphylaxis) to latex has been published (166).

If a person reports a severe (anaphylactic) allergy to latex, vaccines supplied in vials or syringes that contain natural rubber should not be administered unless the benefit of vaccination outweighs the risk for a potential allergic reaction. For latex allergies other than anaphylactic allergies (e.g., a history of contact allergy to latex gloves), vaccines supplied in vials or syringes that contain dry natural rubber or natural rubber latex can be administered.


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First Published January 2010

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