What to Know About Research for a Lyme Disease Vaccine

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on October 28, 2021

There is no approved Lyme vaccine available at this time. An American-made vaccine was previously available, but the manufacturers pulled it from the market in 2002.

However, there is a new vaccine that was developed by the drug companies Pfizer and Valneva. VLA15 is in Phase 2 of development, where it is being tested on children and adults. VLA15 has been designed to protect against the Lyme disease variants that are common in Europe and North America. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a Lyme disease vaccine, LYMErix™, in 1998. The vaccine had 80% effectiveness in reducing infections in adults. Three years after being approved, the vaccine was taken off the market by the manufacturers. 

A combination of negative media coverage, the dosage schedule, the short length of immunity provided by the vaccine, its side effects, its limitations for children and for people outside of the U.S., and other factors, doomed the vaccine. 

The standard treatment option for Lyme disease is an antibiotic plan that lasts two to four weeks. 

Sometimes, even after completing the antibiotics course, you may have symptoms for up to six months or longer. The condition is called post-Lyme disease syndrome and affects up to 20% of people.

Show Sources


Annals of Internal Medicine: "The Lyme disease vaccine: conception, development, and implementation."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Lyme disease FAQ," "Lyme disease vaccine."

Epidemiology and Infection: "The Lyme vaccine: a cautionary tale."

The New England Journal of Medicine: "Time for a Different Approach to Lyme Disease and Long-Term Symptoms," "Vaccination against Lyme disease with recombinant Borrelia burgdorferi outer-surface lipoprotein A with adjuvant. Lyme Disease Vaccine Study Group."


Vaccine: "Adverse event reports following vaccination for Lyme disease: December 1998-July 2000."

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