Lyme Disease Community
2.11k Members
Avatar universal

sad but true

A Lyme disease vaccine was developed during the early 1990s, and after getting FDA approval in 1998, it was marketed by GlaxoSmithKline under the name LYMErix.

The vaccine, however, was pulled from the market in 2002 citing low demand and is no longer available.

The last few people vaccinated in 2002 are no longer protected against Lyme disease, as protection was not long lasting.

Although there is no human vaccine currently available, there are three Lyme disease vaccines available for dogs, LymeVax, Galaxy Lyme, and Canine Recombinant Lyme. There is no vaccine available for cats.
9 Responses
1415174 tn?1453246703
Actually, I believe it was the CDC that yanked the vaccine because they thought it was dangerous. Now they changed their mind but the phama company doesn't have the money to make it. This is where the goverment would be helpful to subsidise it.
Avatar universal
Heaven protect us from government subsidies -- just like the mayor of NYC banning large soft drinks (which I personally don't drink at all) -- once Uncle Sugar gets power over any aspect of our lives, we lose control because we lose choices.

I want the Feds as far away from Lyme policy as possible, because the Feds will simply line up with the so-called experts, meaning the IDSA, who cling to the position that Lyme is rare, hard to get, and easy to cure.

When there is no choice -- whether in the food we eat or the medical care we obtain -- our lives are diminished in terrible ways.  If the Feds get into the Lyme business, we will remain ill and inadequately treated.  Forever.  

Dealing with the IDSA is terribly difficult -- what will happen when the government says the IDSA position is the 'correct' one?

Don't go there.  There will be no options for any of us.  
1415174 tn?1453246703
Hi JackieCalifornia,
I agree with you on all the Lyme Issues even though I don't have Lyme myself thank goodness. But I guess regarding the coke or cola regulation I am mixed about this. On the one hand I don't think they should be restricting what you eat or drink. But then they do good things like trying to make the corrupt food industry not serve partially hydrogenated fats and they regulate how much of certain chemicals we can injest for example in our water, they keep the amounts of arsenic and other toxins low. Lead paint in homes and asbestos as well. I know coke or pepsi doesn't seem toxic but there are so many diabetics in this country that it may help a little to force people to cut down on sugar. Also, the government requires chlldren to get vaccinated. Regarding vaccines, I am for them if they are proven to be safe. You have to weight the disease versus how dangerous the perceived threat of the vaccine is. Also, pharma companies won't make a profit on vaccines so they don't make them anymore, like the Lyme vaccine. So, here is where subsidies would work because it would pay for the vaccines to be made either that or the government should force the pharma to make them but vaccines are very expensive to develop and it would the small pharma out of buisness.. I choose the subsides in this case if people can avoid lyme as well as polio, and small pox etc.
Avatar universal
I hear you.  The point about vaccination is that the 'shots' are to prevent *communicable* serious disease (like diphtheria, typhus, etc.), that one person easily gets from another or a common vector.  There is a community interest in stopping the spread of such things.

There is (philosophically) less of an argument for the govt to tell us what to eat and when to eat it, because when I eat Twinkies, I'm not forcing anyone else to eat Twinkies.  This argument falls down, however, when irresponsible people eat nothing but Twinkies and get obese, leading to health problems that in recent years have become 'socialized' -- meaning we are all expected to subsidize the higher health costs for people who are Twinkie freaks.  He who pays the piper calls the tune, so the govt steps in to tell people what to eat since the government is picking up the tab.  Makes perfect sense, but it is an infringement on freedom of choice.  If you want to eat Twinkies into oblivion, okay -- just don't make me pay for it, directly or indirectly.  It's a matter of personal responsibility.

I don't do Twinkies (tho I had a taste for Hostess cupcakes when I was a kid!), and so we are facing the problem of what to do with freeloaders who don't take of themselves and then expect free medical care for their self-induced illnesses (no, not all diabetics are self-created, but some are.)

I understand the idea of getting the govt to set the rules, but the problem with that is the stupidity of unaccountable government action when given too much control and power.  Remember the days when the post office was the only way to communicate (in print) at a distance?  Fed Ex and the internet have ended that monopoly, but I do not want the monopoly of government health care making my health care decisions.  No way.

Lyme disease treatment is a prime example why monopolies are really, really bad idea overall.  IDSA has a stranglehold on treatment approaches in so-called mainstream medicine, and they do their best to run LLMDs out of business, like in Texas.  So much for freedom of choice and freedom of conscience.

You say "pharma companies won't make a profit on vaccines so they don't make them anymore, like the Lyme vaccine."  Not so.  The Lyme vaccine failed for reasons totally unrelated to finances -- it is a complex story about a complex disease that was not fully appreciated as such 30+ years ago when the Lyme vaccine was created.  

(There are no vaccines against syphilis either, and both Lyme and syphilis are similarly complex infections caused by spirochetal bacteria that are not well understood.  See wiki on syphilis:  "There is no vaccine for syphilis. The outer membrane of T. pallidum [the syphilis bacterium] has too few surface proteins for an antibody to be effective. Efforts to develop a safe and effective syphilis vaccine have been hindered by uncertainty about the relative importance of humoral and cellular mechanisms to protective immunity and the fact that T. pallidum outer membrane proteins have not been unambiguously identified [citations omitted].")

Your comment that "the government should force the pharma to make [the vaccines".  Whoa.  And I thought I heard the Soviet Union was defunct.  What part of the Constitution allows the government to *force* a private company [outside of a national emergency like war declared by Congress] to make a particular product because the government thinks it's a good idea?

We differ in that you see big government as the ultimate solution to every problem.  I see big government as the least efficient and least effective way to do ANYthing.  Post Office vs FedEx, Mailboxes etc., and UPS?  Not even close.
1415174 tn?1453246703
Hi JackieCalifornia,
I see you are very passionate about your feelings. Firstly, I am a microbiologist. I meant to say the government should subsidize the pharma companies so that they will make vaccines (I didn't mean force per se).  I feel badly that they stopped making the Lyme vaccine and so many people are suffering with it. However, I do see that most people with type II diabetes are weight/diet  related.  I stand by my comment that many research/pharma vaccination production labs have gone out of business and/or stopped making vaccine due to lack of funding. I know this for  a fact as I was doing a vaccine study on Adenovirus when I worked for the military and they stopped producing the vaccine because it wasn't profitable and many military people and their families developed illness from the lack of vaccine after they stopped making it. My main point is there is a time when government needs to subsidize unless they come up with a better plan, which I haven't seen yet. I do believe in Social Security for the elderly, and disability. I also believe if you work you should have the option of insurance.  There are many bacteria/viruses for which there are no vaccines. This is for a variety of reasons. I do not see why you jumped to the conclusion that I see big government as the solution to "every problem". I do think it has its place in solving public health issues, such as development of the polio vaccine as well as when companies can't  make a profit without financial help. Also, the government was involved in the development and production of the the first antibiotics. I am on this site to solve medical problems not argue with people about politics or any other matter. I appreciate your comments as I hope you would appreciate my opinion as well.
thank you,
Avatar universal
No worries.  I didn't inject the government funding aspect into the discussion, and just replied to what you had posted.  I generally stay out of politics here as well.  Your comments about the need for govt involvement in these matters prompted my response.

The first antibiotics:  US govt involvement in ... penicillin?  Who knew!  >jk<

Avatar universal
Oh my what a discussion!

when i can read.. tomorrow i will enjoy it all.

be well women
Avatar universal
Pamela Weintraub wrote about the LymeRIX story in her book Cure Unknown. She said that Allen Steere was the primary consultant, and he came up with the CDC surveillance interpretation of the Western Blot based on the belief that many people would soon be using this vaccine, and they didn't want false positives on vaccinated people.  He justifies leaving out two important antibodies (used for the vaccine) by saying that they aren't important for diagnosis as they are antibodies of transmission, not of established disease. (Hunh? I had band 31 six years after I was infected! How can he honestly say that band can be ignored??)

Of course, people will tell you that a group of prestigious scientists gathered to come up with the test criteria, but Allen Steere had already proposed to the CDC the criteria that was adopted and is now used to deny people a diagnosis and treatment. It was highly influenced by the up and coming vaccine.

I say this not to get off track, but to point out the significant conflict of interest that existed in this time of setting government policies. Yes, the CDC two tier testing protocol is a government policy.This is why most labs will only look at the bands the CDC cares about. (The CDC also told me in an email that they don't endorse ANY treatment protocols.  Which was blatantly false given what I read on their Lyme web site.)

I saw a copy of a letter published online by a patient involved in the vaccine trials. The vaccine gave him Lyme (or at least the symptoms of Lyme) during the trial and he reported it. He heard about others as well. He was shocked to hear the official announcements that there were no adverse reactions. The reason the LymeRIX vaccine lawsuits are still alive is  because of this. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but it sure smacks of a cover up to get the vaccine to market.

Ms. Weintraub reports that the CDC told Glaxo that if they didn't pull it voluntarily, they would order it off the market.  They were getting numerous reports of people developing full blown Lyme disease after the vaccine. The working theory was that some people had asymptomatic Borrelia infections, and the vaccine somehow triggered it to become active. It would be a crap shoot for anyone taking the vaccine to develop Lyme, as there is no way of knowing if a person has Borrelia hiding out in their body.

The misinformation out there is that anti-vaccine activists and greedy lawsuit-happy people sued and stopped everyone else from getting a useful vaccine. I have seen at least two of these articles, which fail to mention that the vaccine made a number of people sick.

A footnote to all of this is that the vaccine required 3 shots over a year before conferring immunity, which would be gone two years later, requiring more shots. To me, this would inhibit widespread usage.

On a personal note: I am mostly pro-vaccine. My little one has all recommended vaccines, as do I.  My mother is a retired pediatric nurse and she remembers the fear and the summer polio counts when she was a kid. When the vaccine became available, people lined up for blocks to get them for their children as they were so terrified of polio. I know two people who had mild cases as kids who now have post-polio syndrome in their later years. Not fun.

Thanks to vaccines, many people in the developed world are unfamiliar with such diseases, and don't have the fear previous generations do.  I suspect the friends and families of whooping cough babies in CA who have died recently do!

However, because of the corruption and misinformation about the LymeRIX vaccine, I would be highly suspicious of any Lyme vaccine and would wait many years to see what happens before I would go near it.Just my personal opinion....

Avatar universal
Well said.  I have always been a great believer in vaccination, for the reasons you state.  I have my 'shot record' [evidence of vaccination] from when we lived in Europe when I was a little kid, and I must have looked like a pin cushion after all the needle sticks.  I remember my teachers cautioning the class at various times to "Please be care of [Richard's] arms for a few days; his family is being transferred to a new assignment in [faraway country], and he's just gotten all his shots and boosters."  Smallpox, diphtheria, polio, tetanus, whooping cough, and so on:  deadly or dangerous diseases we mostly don't think about much anymore.

Things have come a long way since then, but it is terribly sad that Lyme prevention, diagnosis, and treatment have been so bungled and that it's still not sorted out as it should be.  

Hurrah for ILADS-type docs, who are my heroes -- as are all of you out there, doing the hard work of dealing with Lyme day by day.  Hang on!
Have an Answer?
Top Infectious Diseases Answerers
1415174 tn?1453246703
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Fearing autism, many parents aren't vaccinating their kids. Can doctors reverse this dangerous trend?
Can HIV be transmitted through this sexual activity? Dr. Jose Gonzalez-Garcia answers this commonly-asked question.
A breakthrough study discovers how to reduce risk of HIV transmission by 95 percent.
Dr. Jose Gonzalez-Garcia provides insight to the most commonly asked question about the transfer of HIV between partners.
Before your drop a dime at the pharmacy, find out if these popular cold and flu home remedies are a wonder or a waste
Fend off colds and the flu with these disease-fighting foods