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Why Can Dogs, but Not Humans, Get Vaccinated against Lyme Disease?

Jeffrey Miron

This article appeared on Substack on July 25, 2023

An interview in the Harvard Gazette with Professor of Medicine Allen Steere explains:

[T]here are currently no vaccines for humans, although there are three for dogs. One had been developed in the late 1990s and pulled off the market in 2002, in part due to a vigorous anti‐​vaccination movement.

Steere goes on to explain that concerns arose about a possible side‐​effect of the vaccine, but those concerns turned out to be invalid. Thus, general vaccine hesitancy, combined with a specific but misplaced fear about the early vaccine have meant no availability for humans so far.

The interview does not address one other factor: the FDA. Absent government restrictions on new medicines, people in earlier decades would have been able to access the initial vaccine, and the manufacturer or independent groups could have collected data on whether the alleged side effect was a genuine problem.

The good news is that a new vaccine is apparently near completion of its phase 3 trials, and an mRNA vaccine is also in the works. Still, many have suffered unnecessarily because of government restrictions on medicine.

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