SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — One bite can change your life forever. If you’ve dealt with Lyme disease, you know how debilitating it is and how crucial a vaccine would be.

A vaccine is in the works right now, but researchers need your help to make it happen, and time is running out.

The CDC believes close to 500,000 people will get Lyme this year. It spreads through ticks and can cause headaches, arthritis, and even heart issues. Unfortunately, our region is an epicenter.

“Anyone who lives in Upstate New York really spends time outdoors in the spring, summer, and fall, so they’re gonna be at risk.”

Dr. Kris Paolino
Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

A vaccine would be a game changer, but for that to happen they need you to get in the game.

Right now, SUNY Upstate is enrolling patients for a vaccine trial. They need about 40 more people before the end of May.

Upstate is looking for participants ages 12 to 17 who have not had a tick bite in the past four weeks and who have not had Lyme in the past three months.

There are no needle sticks other than the vaccine. So there’s no bloodwork that’s being drawn. We have people come in for a screening visit and if they meet the criteria we enroll them that day. So they would get the vaccine on that day and then there are additional vaccinations at the two-month mark, the six-month mark, and then the following year there’s a booster vaccine at the 18-month mark.

Dr. Paolino

Paolino says you have a 75% chance of getting the vaccine versus the placebo.

With the timeline of the trial, he’s hoping we could have something on the market in the next three to five years.

Right now, the only preventive measures are using repellent, doing tick checks, and trying to treat Lyme if it’s caught early. Paolino says adding another level of protection with a vaccine would be really valuable.

“These ticks are here and they’re pretty much here to stay, so I think doing things to prevent the disease itself in the human population that are going out and about and exposing themselves to tick endemic areas, that’s the big key.”

Upstate is enrolling for the next few weeks.

To enroll, call 315-464-9869 or email