Opinion: Low COVID-19 vaccine trust among Lyme disease patients

woman receiving lyme disease vaccine

I have Lyme disease patients who do not trust the COVID-19 vaccine. Apparently, there is also a low trust for the COVID-19 vaccine among Black Americans, writes P.R. Lockhart in an NBC News article entitled, “Experts warn of low Covid vaccine trust among Black Americans.”[1] The Black American concerns are similar to the concerns of Lyme disease patients.

Some individuals with Lyme disease do not trust the COVID-19 vaccine. They are not alone.
As the author points out, a December poll by the Pew Research Center reported that 71% of Black respondents knew someone who had been hospitalized or died from Covid-19, yet fewer than 50% of Black Americans polled would get the vaccine.

“Many of them fear that the vaccines aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19 will be harmful to Black Americans.”

My patients are concerned that the vaccine will be harmful to their immune system. Some Lyme disease patients developed autoimmune issues after receiving the Lyme disease vaccine. The vaccine by SmithKline Beecham was pulled off the market by in 2002. The manufacturer was unable to determine if the autoimmune issues reported by patients was, in fact, due to the vaccine.

But right now, the one thing that may be more important than getting vaccines in the hands of Black Americans is increasing their trust in the process that created it, and in a medical system that has mistreated them in both the past and the present.

Some of my Lyme disease patients have lost trust in the CDC in addressing their issues. The CDC took years to acknowledge that the number of cases of Lyme disease were at least 10 times higher than that the numbers reported in their surveillance program. When they adjusted their figures the actual number of cases skyrocketed from 30,000 to at least 300,000 per year in the U.S. alone.

The CDC also took years to acknowledge the existence and severity of chronic manifestations of Lyme disease. And then, the CDC only acknowledged the existence of Post-Treatment Lyme disease Syndrome (PTLDS). Studies have shown that PTLDS patients suffer from pain, fatigue, difficulty thinking, and poor function for at least 6 months after antibiotic treatment. Between 10-20% of Lyme disease patients develop PTLDS. Furthermore, the CDC has concluded that patients with ongoing symptoms do not have an active infection, even though there is no reliable test that can determine if a persistent infection has cleared.

“The reality is that their worries have been earned and will not be corrected until medicine and public health and the government reckon with the past and what has been done to Black and brown people.”

Medicine and public health and the government have not reckoned with the past.

Others have said that they want to wait and see how the first wave of vaccine distribution is handled.

COVID-19 remains a concern for my Lyme disease patients. Some of my patients are taking a wait and see approach to the vaccination, given their concerns with medicine, public health and the government.

  1. Experts warn of low Covid vaccine trust among Black Americans by P.R. Lockhart in NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/experts-warn-low-covid-vaccine-trust-among-black-americans-n1250743 Last accessed 12/12/20.

218 Replies to "Opinion: Low COVID-19 vaccine trust among Lyme disease patients"

  • Pamela
    01/04/2021 (7:39 pm)

    Is it safe for a person who has Lyme disease to get the vaccine for COVID-19. I’m already nervous about getting the vaccine I am not sure if it will cause any issues since I do have Lyme disease high blood pressure and Epstein barr.

  • Heather Dean
    12/29/2020 (6:50 pm)

    I have Lyme disease and my doctor said no to me getting the flu shot. So my work wants me to take covid shot. But I work in Healthcare and my coworkers are says no for me getting covid shot. So is it safe for some with Lyme disease to take it?

  • Carolyn Long
    12/27/2020 (9:28 am)

    Dr. Cameron and Nancy Dawson. With Covid potentionally blown completely out of proportion https://thevaccinereaction.org/2020/09/coronavirus-cases-plummet-when-pcr-tests-are-adjusted/

    I think we need to step back and take a long look at the potentional side effects of a vaccine vs a “wait and see” approach. My trust level for the CDC is zilch. The number of “cases” has been artificially inflated through an (intentionally?) inflated PCR testing process that makes a mouse look like an elephant. What we don’t know about this vaccine would fill volumes. What we do know could be put on the back of a postage stamp with room left over for the Gettysburg address. Why is the medical community silent on this vaccine. Dr. Cameron, we need informed medical advice based on your research. I think it’s a disaster driven by greed and avarice. But I’m just a mom from a small rural southern state so what do I know.

  • Casey Kies
    12/23/2020 (12:29 am)

    Hi Dr. Daniel Cameron, I was wondering if you’ve read about the Covid Long Haulers and if you think what they’re experiencing sounds like Lyme Disease? I just read that Covid can cross the blood brain barrier like Lyme Disease can, as well as people experiencing very similar symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, joint pain, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, and neurological issues and many more. It seems to act differently in every person, much like Lyme thus making it hard to treat. I would love your opinion about Covid Long Haulers and Lyme Disease patients and I think it would be great to bring these two communities together to help bring more awareness and more research on the similarities of these nasty virus’s/diseases that continue to cause many to suffer with long term pain and debilitation! Thank you!

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      12/23/2020 (7:13 am)

      I agree

      • TJ
        03/13/2021 (2:17 am)

        I am seriously questioning if Lyme and Covid originated as mutations in laboratory experiments. Will injecting another laboratory agent in a vaccine help, or is it part of the bigger problem. Is it a time will tell scenario or one that we may never know. Does injecting more toxic substance in a vaccination help or harm us? And is the long haul Covid reaction Similar to long term Lyme/TBD simply cytokine storms and mast cell reactions, or Herx die-off, and therefore parallel chronic symptoms. This would require some complex and dedicated research and willingness to reveal the truth of the underlying infections. Ps. Myself, 12 or more years before discovering it was tick-borne all along, now late-disseminated multiple tick-borne infections with all of the worst symptoms possible, aggressively treating with multiple protocols with a Lyme Literate ND and medical team. March 2020 became life-threateningly down with lung infection that was all classic Covid symptoms. But weeks later tested negative, and tested antibody negative. Fallen into the cracks of “timing windows” and “false negatives”. Now with chronic lung issues but no proof it was Covid. Now long-haul Covid with Late stage Lyme. Working my protocols, looking forward to a healthy life again. And, fragile and at-risk. What if I didn’t have Covid and could still get it? There is no answer. No one will ever know. Decision to get the vaccine is too difficult at this stage, one more agent in my body may overflow the cup. Who and where, what medical facilities are even seeing complex cases like mine. I want to be studied in order to learn and help others, and maybe help myself. With no Lyme hospitals, yet, any ideas where to take my case?

    • Sandra
      02/27/2021 (3:17 pm)

      YES, I was wondering the same thing! And I am not a negative, whiney complainer.. but I thought, Wow- people with complications for Covid, that sounds just like Chronic Lyme, are getting such support, research, concern etc.. while Chronic Lyme has pretty much been pushed aside as a made-up, mental condition that insurance won’t cover and CDC won’t accept! UGH! Pretty interesting, though..

      • elizabeth davich
        04/15/2021 (9:28 pm)

        I think many of the long haulers are the 90% of undiagnosed Lyme infections that have been dormant or misdiagnosed. I got covid twice and I’m back to square one with the Lyme.

        • Ely
          04/24/2021 (7:04 pm)

          Sad to hear!

  • Nancy Dawson
    12/14/2020 (7:03 pm)

    I am so glad to see this article from Dr Cameron. I know I’m in the minority of at least those who speak up about vaccines. I have always been a proponent of vaccination. I have been dealing with Lyme Disease since 1986. Treating for over 25 years on allopathic medicine with orals and IVs. I’m sure that medication saved my life. I did not take the Lyme vaccine when that came out preferring to wait and see. I didn’t like what I saw. With the MRNA Covid vaccine I don’t feel it is a choice. I have gotten emails telling me to avoid it but with millions infected and already 300,000 dead in this country I’m not waiting. If there are side effects I hope my taking it will help fix it. We all need to “risk it” with this horrible infection. Sure Lyme kills but COVID-19 kills faster!

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