Lyme Disease Vaccine Attitudes and Intentions Among Parents of Children Aged 5-18 Years in the United States

Background

Lyme disease (LD) is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States, with increasing incidence and geographic range. Case incidence peaks among school-aged children. New LD preventives are in clinical trials.

Methods

We conducted an online survey of parents of children aged 5-18 years in states with high or emerging incidence of LD. Our primary outcome was willingness (“definitely” or “probably”) for their child to receive an LD vaccine. Our secondary outcome was preference for annual monoclonal antibody injections compared to a 3-dose vaccine series with boosters. Analyses were weighted to reflect parent gender, parent race/ethnicity, and child age by state.

Results

Among 1,351 parent respondents, most (68.0%) would have their child vaccinated against LD, with significantly more being willing in high compared to emerging incidence states (70.4% versus 63.6%, p=0.027). Of parents who were unsure or unwilling, 33.5% and 16.5%, respectively, would do so with a provider recommendation. Vaccine safety concerns were among the top reasons for LD vaccine hesitancy. More parents preferred a pre-formed antibody (42.3%) compared to a 3-dose vaccine series (34.7%). Significant predictors of willingness to have one’s child vaccinated were higher parental education; higher perceived risk of child getting LD; child spending time outdoors daily or weekly; following a regular vaccine schedule; and positive attitude towards vaccines. Significant predictors of preference for monoclonal antibody over a 3-dose vaccine series included prior awareness of LD, living in a rural area, and less positive attitudes towards vaccines.

Conclusions

Two-thirds of parents in high and emerging incidence states would vaccinate their children against Lyme disease. Addressing safety concerns will be important, and a health care provider recommendation could also encourage those who are unsure or unwilling. Given the slight preference for monoclonal antibody over vaccine, particularly in rural areas, access to both may increase LD prevention.

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