Do vaccines make children allergic to nuts? No, that's not true: There is no known association between childhood vaccines and these sorts of allergic reactions. An assistant professor of pediatrics in allergy and immunology called the notion "anti-vaccine rhetoric."
The claim appeared in a post on Instagram published on February 14, 2023, with the description "A little Valentine's Day poetry for you!" The meme in the post says:
Roses are red. Big Pharma sucks. 'Pokes' are why your child is allergic to nuts.
This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:
(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Wed Feb 15 17:55:50 2023 UTC)
The meme provides no supporting evidence to substantiate its claim.
In a February 15, 2023, email to Lead Stories, Dr. Jessica M. Palmieri, an assistant professor of pediatrics in allergy and immunology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, said there is a multitude of studies from the 1990s to the 2010s showing no association between vaccines and atopy, which is an exaggerated immune response that makes you more likely to develop allergic diseases. She added:
It's anti-vaccine rhetoric again. This study below followed participants for 37 years (ages 7-44) and found no association between childhood vaccinations and the development of any atopic condition.
Matheson MC, Haydn Walters E, Burgess JA, et al. Childhood immunization and atopic disease into middle-age -- a prospective cohort study. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2010: 21:301-306., https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20003161/, PMID: 20003161
Dr. Julie Wang, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics section on allergy and immunology, responded to a Lead Stories query via email on February 15, 2023, She said:
I am not aware of any data showing a causal link between vaccination and nut allergies.
Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told Lead Stories in a February 15, 2023, email that he agrees:
I am not aware of any rigorous laboratory or clinical science that implicates vaccines in the development of allergies to nuts in children.
The Instagram [poster] is misinformed.
As always, if a parent has this or other concern about vaccines, they should discuss this with their pediatrician or family doctor.
Lead Stories asked the Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association (PTNPA) for a response to the claim. It was provided in a February 15, 2023, email by the organization's Ashley Weckback:
PTNPA is not aware of anything that shows a causal link between vaccination and nut allergies.
In response to this claim, PTNPA relies on guidance from the CDC.
The National Peanut Board takes a narrower look at the claim on its web page "5 Myths about Peanuts." Under "MYTH 4: Peanut oil in vaccinations causes peanut allergy," it says:
Peanut oil is not an ingredient in any US licensed vaccine listed by the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There is no research that supports a causative relationship between vaccinations and peanut allergies. In fact, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) specifically states on their Vaccination Education Center website that peanut oil, as some people suggest, is not used as a part of vaccinations. The CDC provide excellent information on vaccines at their website, especially regarding their benefits, ingredients, and safety.
Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims related to COVID-19 vaccines can be found here.