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What is the Lyme Disease Vaccine?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 07 January 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Researchers hoped the development of a Lyme disease vaccine would reduce the number of cases of Lyme disease diagnosed each year. The recommended administration of the Lyme disease vaccine was an initial dose, followed by a booster in one month, and then another booster the following year. The recommendation for the timing of the vaccinations was early in the year, so that the first and second booster shot were administered before tick season begins in April.

The Lyme disease vaccination went through the FDA approval process and was declared safe. It was approved for use in the United States in December of 1998. There was initial excitement about the development of a Lyme disease vaccine, but the actual response was slow. Most insurance companies would not pay for the series of three shots, and so people interested in receiving the shot were required to pay from their own pockets.

As more people received the Lyme disease vaccine, there were reports that some of them developed autoimmune side effects. A class action suit against GlaxoSmithCline, the vaccine's manufacturer, brought nationwide attention to the concern some had about the vaccine. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control investigated the possible link between the Lyme disease vaccine and the development of autoimmune diseases.

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There was no indication that the vaccine was responsible for the development of autoimmune disorders. Despite assurances that the vaccination was safe, the public remained concerned. In 2002, unable to make a profit with the vaccination, and wary of future litigation, GlaxoSmithCline removed the product from the market.

With no Lyme disease vaccine currently available, the best way to stay healthy is to reduce your exposure to ticks. Keep leaves raked up, woodpiles covered, and brush cleared from property. Ticks, along with their carriers, rats and deer, favor shaded, cool areas. Reducing the available habitat will reduce the number of ticks in the area.

When hiking or working outside, skin should be covered. Wearing a lightweight long shirt, long pants, sock pulled over pants legs, and sturdy shoes or boots will prevent most ticks from latching onto a person's skin. After coming inside, change clothes immediately, and shake out clothes that were worn outside, or toss them in the washing machine immediately.

Anyone concerned about exposure to Lyme disease, should visit a doctor immediately. There are effective treatments for the disease. The earlier the disease is treated, the more successful the treatment typically is.

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