Colds and flu

02 December 2008

Who should avoid flu vaccination?

There are some people who shouldn't be vaccinated against the 'flu. Are you one of them? Find out.


Some people shouldn't be vaccinated against the 'flu. Examples are:

  • People allergic to eggs (the protein albumin) should be careful because the vaccine virus is grown in eggs. However, if deemed necessary, even such persons may be able to be vaccinated under close medical supervision;
  • People with a history of side effects with previous vaccinations. Under certain conditions, the vaccine might be given in two half doses;
  • It is advisable to delay being vaccinated if the person is ill with a high fever or any acute illness;
  • Although in the case of the influenza vaccine there are no known adverse effects to the foetus (associated with the mom being vaccinated), vaccines are generally avoided in the first trimester of pregnancy;
  • Individuals who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome within six weeks after receiving a previous vaccination, should not be vaccinated. This risk was associated with older forms of the vaccine, and not with newer forms of the vaccine, but the recommendation stands.

Consult your doctor/health care professionals if you think you should not be vaccinated or if you are uncertain.

Reviewed (2006) by Dr Jane Yeats MBChB, BSc(Med)(Hons)Biochem, FCPathSA(Virology).


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Flu expert

Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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