Lyme vaccine trials fail Martha’s Vineyard


To the Editor:

Lyme has been devastating here on Martha’s Vineyard, as it has been throughout New England. That was the reason I volunteered for this, my first clinical trial, in spite of vax fatigue after five COVID-19 jabs, and flu, pneumonia, and shingles jabs. 

After receiving two jabs of a Pfizer Lyme vax or placebo (pretty sure I got the live vax due to my reaction), I learned that the trial was suspended here due to Care Access’ failure to maintain proper clinical trial protocol — and I would have to agree. 

From the phone interview to qualify me to my two trial visits, there was nothing tight and clinical about Care Access’ carefree approach — paperwork and consent laxness, poor use of trial visit time (2-3 hours each), remoteness (literally) of clinicians, any empathy to why this trial was so important to us, and no physical connection to an on-Island care provider (an outdoor tent in December in New England is not a suitable clinical space for a multi-hour visit). 

The Lyme trial is code-named Valor for good reason. Every Islander who volunteered to be jabbed is a selfless hero, not unlike those who took the first COVID-19 vaccines. Too bad Care Access did not honor the pact we made with them and Pfizer — to donate our time and well-being for the chance to better everyone. 

Yes, the trial continues elsewhere, but not with a community most impacted.

Mike Bellissimo
West Tisbury