LYMEPOLICYWONK: Lyme Vaccinations: Safety First
Dr. Stricker and I published a letter to the editor on Lyme vaccines in Lancet. The letter responds to an article by employees of Baxter, which has a vaccine in development. The article by Baxter employees in support of a new vaccine was published with an editorial by Dr. Lantos, the new Lyme spokesman for the IDSA. Both the Baxter article and the Lantos editorial make short shrift of patient vaccine safety concerns, which Lantos describes as “largely unsubstantiated”. Dr. Stricker and I note that the first vaccines sparked a class action lawsuit from patients harmed by the vaccines. In the end, of course, the vaccine was pulled by the manufacturer. We note that “by withdrawing LYMErix when it did, the manufacturer avoided releasing phase 4 post-marketing data that probably would have shown increased side-effects related to the vaccine. The data have never been disclosed.” We conclude that given this sketchy past, any new vaccine will need to be forthright about safety issues. The dismissive attitude toward patient safety reflected in the Baxter article and the Lantos editorial serve only to increase patient distrust. Because vaccinations are given to a healthy population, our first priority is to make sure they are safe. Our letter to the editor is available open access for readers.
Our letter to the editor is here.
An abstract of the Baxter article is here.
The editorial by Dr. Lantos is here.
The reply to our letter to the editor by Baxter is here.
Lantos response to our editorial is here.
The LYME POLICY WONK blog is written by Lorraine Johnson, JD, MBA, who is the Executive Director of LymeDisease.org, formerly CALDA. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter, follow me @lymepolicywonk.