Is The Flu Shot Gluten Free?

“Is the flu shot gluten free?” Lots of questions and discussions going on about the flu vaccine.  Lots of fabulous folks keep asking me if it’s gluten free. Well, the truth is that I’ve heard it’s gluten free, but I haven’t done any first hand digging…so I decided to get to the bottom of this. Very Nancy Drew of me. Okay, so here’s the deal, the flu shot is manufactured by 5 different companies. You can ask your pharmacist who manufactured the shot that they carry. I’ve spoken to all of the companies and here is what they have to say.

 The 5 Manufacturers of the Flu Vaccine

1)Sanofi Pasteur- The rep said “no gluten is added to the shot. But we cannot guarantee that any materials brought into the plant are not subject to cross-contamination. However, if you are allergic to eggs, do not get the shot. It’s cultivated in egg whites.” They also offer a mercury and preservative free vaccine. You can contact your local Walgreens to see if they carry this manufacturer’s vaccine.

2) Glaxzo: The rep said, “our flu shot is gluten free and is not subject to cross-contamination.” When I pressed her on how she knew that, she couldn’t provide any more details other than she was a little irritated that I kept digging, lol. Oh well, I gotta do what I gotta do!

3) Novartis Vaccines: Fluvirin is the name of the vaccine they distribute. They said, “there is no gluten added to the shot and cross-contamination is not possible”. There is a preservative free version in individually wrapped doses (shots), but trace amounts of mercury are present in these individual shots. The multi-dose vial (shots available at clinics where they are drawing the vaccine from a large vile to make their own individual shots), preservatives are present.

4) MedImmune: They produce the FluMist that in inhaled and not a shot. According the to rep, it has no gluten, mercury or preservatives added to it. The rep could not guarantee anything when it comes to cross-contamination.

5) Merck:  The rep stated that “no gluten is added to the product. Also, no mercury or preservatives are in the single dose, but they are both present in the multi-vial.

What I Learned:

1) Make sure you get a “pre-filled” syringe of the flu vaccine. The multi-vials (shots made in the clinic by a DR from a large dose of the vaccine) often contain mercury and preservatives.

2) Many of these are manufactured overseas, so cross-contamination could be a remote possibility or not at all. Many of the US companies didn’t have that information, but felt cross-contamination was extremely unlikely.

3) Eggs are present in the making of all the vaccines, stay away if you are allergic to eggs!

Bottom Line?

Yes, the flu shots are gluten free in the fact that no gluten is added to any shots or mists. Heeeeeeeere comes that annoying disclaimer “due to unknown cross-contamination in the manufacturing plants or raw materials, it could be (but highly unlikely) possible.” There you have it and the rest is up to you! This post isn’t to advocate for or against the flu shot, just wanted you to have the information so that you can do what you feel is best. I really really hope this was helpful, it was kinda wild to wade through all the info and get to the bottom of it. Hugs to all of you, thanks tons for stopping by.

Lauren-Lucille Vasser

AKA- Nancy Drew. ;)