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Letter: Vaccine wrong answer to Lyme disease

The Associated Press article "Major test of first possible Lyme shot in decades starts," Aug. 9, described testing of a possible new vaccine to prevent Lyme disease. This sounds like a good idea, but it isn't. Ticks carry many other diseases, such as Powassan, Babesiosis and more.

Most of these are transmitted quickly when the tick bites, not after a long delay like Lyme. Being vaccinated against Lyme will make people complacent about ticks, and thus more likely to catch a different tick-borne disease.

In the woods today, it is important to never get bitten by a tick in the first place. This can be accomplished by smearing your body and your clothes with DEET, but there is a better answer: permethrin.

Permethrin is applied to clothing and allowed to dry before wearing. Commercially treated garments are good for 70 washings, and the ones you spray at home are good for 6 washings before you need to re-treat them. As a bonus, permethrin also works against mosquitos and many other bugs.

It is proven effective, but is it safe? Well, permethrin is approved for topical use against lice, including in children. To my way of thinking, if it is safe enough to apply a 1 percent solution (such as Nix) directly to the skin of children, then applying a 0.5 percent solution (such as Sawyer permethrin spray) to my clothing and letting it dry before wearing is going to be OK.

I am a supporter of vaccines in general, but not this one.

Worth Gretter


You can read the full article here.


October 5, 2023

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Times Union

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