Your Baby & Toddler - - THE DOSSIER -

In the United States, where mil­lions of chil­dren are vac­ci­nated ev­ery year, there are about 200 cases of se­vere al­ler­gic re­ac­tions linked to vac­cines. “A child can be al­ler­gic to a vac­cine as for any other med­i­ca­tion. Usu­ally these al­ler­gies are very mild and in­volve swelling or red­ness. Oc­ca­sion­ally they can be more se­vere and in that case the mother should con­sult with a doc­tor about ex­actly which vac­cine it was so that it can be avoided in fu­ture. How­ever, it’s not a rea­son to avoid all vac­cines as there might just be one in­gre­di­ent in a par­tic­u­lar vac­cine that the child may have re­acted to,” says Dr Suchard. Be­cause these al­ler­gic re­ac­tions hap­pen sud­denly, stay in the clinic for about 15 min­utes af­ter each shot.

If your child is al­ler­gic to eggs, the only vac­cine you should avoid is the yel­low fever vac­cine. Even the flu vac­cine, which makes use of eggs in pro­duc­tion, has been shown to be safe for use by peo­ple with egg al­ler­gies. “Gen­er­ally if your child can eat shop-bought bis­cuits with­out a reaction, they do not have a sig­nif­i­cant egg al­lergy,” says Dr Glass.

Ge­la­tine is used as a sta­biliser and preser­va­tive in vac­cines and causes an al­ler­gic reaction in one in ev­ery two mil­lion vac­cines. Chil­dren with a his­tory of ge­la­tine al­ler­gies (which can be very dif­fi­cult to iden­tify) can be of­fered al­ter­na­tives. YB

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