Latex is a product of the rubber tree. It is processed and used in various products, including some that come in contact with vaccines. Latex may be present in syringe plungers, vial stoppers, or in the tip caps on prefilled syringes. Some people develop sensitivity to latex, particularly if they have had significant cumulative latex exposure, such as from repeated surgeries early in life or employment in the healthcare industry.
The most common type of latex sensitivity is contact-type allergy; however, on rare occasions, severe (anaphylactic) allergy occurs. People with a history of anaphylactic reactions to latex should generally not be given vaccines that have been in contact with natural rubber or latex, either in the vial or in the syringe, unless the benefit of vaccination outweighs the risk of a potential allergic reaction. People with latex allergies that are not anaphylactic in nature may be vaccinated as usual.