Lyme disease vaccine

Lyme disease vaccine
icon of a tick

A vaccine for Lyme disease is not currently available. The only vaccine previously marketed in the United States, LYMERix®, was discontinued by the manufacturer in 2002, citing insufficient consumer demand. Protection provided by this vaccine decreases over time. Therefore, if you received this vaccine before 2002, you are probably no longer protected against Lyme disease.

Clinical trials

Clinical trials of new vaccines for Lyme disease are currently underway. Valneva and Pfizer have developed a Lyme disease vaccine candidate, VLA15, that is currently in Phase 3 human trials. VLA15 is a multivalent, protein subunit vaccine that targets the outer surface protein A (OspA) of Borrelia. This vaccine is designed to protect people against North American and European strains of the Lyme disease bacterium.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School’s MassBiologics has developed a human monoclonal antibody designed to be used as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for Lyme disease. Human trials are expected to begin soon. This approach would provide seasonal protection against Lyme disease. It would likely consist of a single shot that people would get each year at the beginning of tick season.

What is CDC doing?

CDC is currently conducting research to understand what concerns healthcare providers and the public may have about any potential Lyme disease vaccines. Once a Lyme disease vaccine is approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), CDC will work with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to develop recommendations about where in the U.S. the public might benefit from a Lyme disease vaccine.  CDC will communicate these recommendations to increase awareness of a vaccine among the public and clinicians to prevent Lyme disease in the United States.

Additional reading

Comstedt P, Hanner M, Schüler W, Meinke A, Schlegl R, Lundberg U. Characterization and optimization of a novel vaccine for protection against Lyme borreliosisVaccine. 2015;33(44):5982-5988.

Comstedt P, Schüler W, Meinke A, Lundberg U. The novel Lyme borreliosis vaccine VLA15 shows broad protection against Borrelia species expressing six different OspA serotypesPLoS One. 2017;12(9):e0184357.

Devchand R, Koehler L, Hook S, et al. Understanding consumer and clinician perceptions of a potential Lyme disease vaccine. Health Educ Res. 2021 Sep 16. Epub ahead of print.

Gomes-Solecki M, Arnaboldi PM, Backenson PB, et al. Protective immunity and new vaccines for Lyme diseaseClin Infect Dis. 2020;70(8):1768-1773.

Hook SA, Hansen AP, Niesobecki SA, et al. Evaluating public acceptability of a potential Lyme disease vaccine using a population-based, cross-sectional survey in high incidence areas of the United StatesVaccine. 2021 Dec 8. Epub ahead of print.

Shen AK, Mead PS, Beard CB. The Lyme disease vaccine–a public health perspectiveClin Infect Dis 2011 Feb;52 Suppl 3:s247-52.

Wang Y, Esquivel R, Flingai S, et al. Anti-OspA DNA-encoded monoclonal antibody prevents transmission of spirochetes in tick challenge providing sterilizing immunity in miceJ Infect Dis. 2019;219(7):1146-1150.