Gregory A. Poland, MD, Depts of Medicine and Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
This article reviews events that led to the withdrawal of the only vaccine to prevent Lyme disease licensed in the United States. The primary issues that led to the vaccine’s withdrawal appear to be a combination of vaccine safety concerns, sparked by a molecular mimicry hypothesis that suggested that the vaccine antigen, outer surface protein A, serves as an autoantigen and hence was arthritogenic; concerns raised by anti-vaccine groups regarding vaccine safety; vaccine cost; a difficult vaccination schedule and the potential need for boosters; class action lawsuits; uncertainty regarding risk of disease; and low public demand. This article reviews lessons learned from these events and proposes that future candidate Lyme disease vaccines are unlikely to be developed, tested, and used within the United States in the near future, thus leaving at-risk populations unprotected.
Count me among the at-risk population, I’ve had it and it was rough, the area around me is thick with deer and their ticks. If I continue to live here I’m near certain to contract it again. But if I get a dog, I can protect him…
Why? The anti-vaccine groups…
Introduced in 1998, the vaccine sold well at first. But then opponents spoke out: self-described ‘vaccine victims’ — perhaps similar to people today who claim the MMR vaccine causes autism. Back then, they said that the Lyme vaccine gave them arthritis.
“And this sort of got into popular lore,” Poland recalls. “It got on the Internet. There were a number of East Coast lawyers who started putting together class-action lawsuits. There were anti-vaccine advocacy groups that were formed.”
And there were threats against the scientists who had worked to help protect people against the disease. Poland had to hide where he lived. Steere got a security detail.
The clinical data did not back up any of this. The trials had not shown such side effects. The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control looked into the claims, and then continued to recommended that people exposed to tick-infested areas get the vaccine.
Sick, ain’t it? Studies done failed to confirm any link from the vaccine to autism or arthritis, didn’t matter. Internet rumors and talk show couch queens trump science.
The morale to the story is, if you want to be taken seriously don’t go get a PhD in science or medicine, get a pair of 36DD breasts.
Jenny McCarthy’s hiring as ‘View’ co-host is matter of contention
Critics are outraged that Jenny McCarthy, who has led an ongoing campaign against childhood vaccinations, has been hired as a co-host for ABC’s ‘The View.’
The anti-vaccine hysteria that McCarthy has helped to whip up has already claimed the lives of more than 700 children, according to the website JennyMcCarthyBodyCount.com. That website relies on data from the Centers for Disease Control that show that between June 2007 and May 2011 there were 78,981 preventable illnesses and 727 preventable deaths of children who could have been vaccinated but weren’t.