Lyme Vaccine Program Faulted
Albany Times Union; B1
In New York, the state inspector general's office has reported that the New York Department of Environment Conservation's Lyme disease vaccination program is "fundamentally flawed" because the vaccine was given to many employees who were at slight risk of catching the disease. In 1999, LYMErix injections were given to just over one-fifth of the agency's 3,700 employees. However, the inspector general's office found that only one-third of the employees who received the shots were actually qualified under the terms of the program to receive the vaccination. Under the terms of the pilot program, an employee had to have a job that involved spending a certain amount of time in areas known to be infected with deer ticks, the insects that carry the disease-causing bacteria. The Department of Environmental Conservation said it was the first agency of its type in the country to offer the shots, which cost $130 per person. The company that make the vaccine, GlaxoSmithKline, announced recently it would cease production of LYMErix, citing low sales.