Monday, May 7, 2018

Is there a Lyme Vaccine?

People often ask me about the Lyme vaccine. Is there a vaccine? 

Why The 1998 Lyme vaccine was withdrawn from the market because of serious side effects and serious limitations. At the time, and for years after, GlaxoSmithKline (now called GSK) often circulated a story that "anti-vaxxers" or "poor sales" were the cause of the withdrawal of the Lymerix vaccine. GSK settled a class action suit with patients who developed a chronic arthritis after receiving the Lymerix vaccine, but those who received the vaccine received nothing from the settlement. 

Several subsequent published papers discussed problems with the vaccine:

Side effects included a portion of the population developing a permanent arthritis. Limitations included the unfortunate situation that 20 percent of those vaccinated would still get Lyme Disease.  The vaccine lacked testing in children. It was only effective against a single strain.  Immunity lasted only a year and it offered no protection against co-infections including babesiosis or anaplasmosis. 

The CDC issued a Morbidity and Mortality Report on June 4, 1999, titled, "Recommendations for the Use of Lyme Vaccine

Here's a somewhat surprising quotation from the 1999 document given CDCs habit of denial of chronic Lyme symptoms in the years following.

"Infrequently, Lyme disease morbidity can be severe, chronic, and disabling (8,9 ). An ill-defined post-Lyme disease syndrome occurs in some persons after treatment for Lyme disease." 

And finally, here is a link to a paper discussing the 1998 Lyme vaccine:

The Lyme Vaccine: A Cautionary Tale

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