It is not always a good idea to get the flu vaccine in Lyme disease. In this video and written article I describe the risks and benefits of getting the vaccine so you can make the best choice for your health. I also describe treatment alternatives at the first sign of the flu. (This article is updated from a previous version published in 2014.)
It is my observation that after the flu vaccine in Lyme disease there is often a decline in the health of the person receiving the vaccine. I hypothesize that this has to do with immune suppression against the Lyme germ, although there are no studies that I am aware of that confirm this. As an alternative to the vaccine, a person should keep thymic protein A and olive leaf extract on hand to stop the flu. For more on this see Keep This Cold and Flu Package On Hand for Fast Results.
Marty Ross MD Discusses the Flu Vaccine in Lyme Disease
Background on Flu Vaccine in Lyme Disease
Studies about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine show it may only work 60% of the time when the vaccine and the strain of the flu virus for the year are correctly matched. However, some years the flu vaccine is not correctly matched with the flu virus of the year and the success rates are actually lower. Each year there is a different strain of the flu virus. Scientist predict what the strain of the year will be to figure out what the vaccine of the year should be.
So in deciding about vaccines I have my patients consider the possible benefit versus the possible harm as I have outlined above. I also advise that if it appears that during the flu season that it is a “killer” year, then the flu vaccine may be warranted.
One other note, most even with Lyme will get over the flu without any adverse outcome. However, there are some more high risk groups for having marked complications with the flu. These groups are people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and those 65 years of age or above.
I am still baffled as to why we are vaccinating as a national policy those under 65 who are otherwise healthy. In making the consideration about recommending flu vaccines for all, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a cost benefit analysis. On economic terms, due to improvements in days lost at work, the vaccine was recommend. However, the long term effects of vaccination have not been adequately studied. There are some theories regarding vaccination in general that when one gets an illness, the immune system may develop immunity to other infections as well. Thus vaccination against one germ, may cause the body to be more susceptible to others.
Recommendation and Alternative
So what do I recommend? Generally for the reasons described above, I recommend against the flu vaccine in Lyme disease. As an alternative I highly suggest that people keep on hand thymic protein A and olive leaf extract. These two supplements taken at the very beginning of a viral syndrome can limit the duration of or even stop the illness in its tracks.
by Marty Ross MD