Paul Allan Offit
March 27, 1951
|Known for||Developing a rotavirus vaccine, public advocacy for vaccines|
|Website||Children's Hospital of Philadelphia - Vaccine Education Center|
Paul Allan Offit (born 27 March 1951) is an American pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases, vaccines, immunology, and virology. He is the co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine. Offit is the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology, professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, former chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases (1992–2014), and the director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He has been a member of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Offit is a board member of Every Child By Two and a Founding Board Member of the Autism Science Foundation (ASF).
Offit has published more than 130 papers in medical and scientific journals in the areas of rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety, and is the author or co-author of books on vaccines, vaccination, the rejection of medicine by some religious groups, and antibiotics. He is one of the most public faces of the scientific consensus that vaccines have no association with autism. As a result, he has been the frequent target of hate mail and death threats.
Offit grew up in Baltimore, the son of a shirtmaker. He went to his father's sales meetings and reacted negatively to the tall tales told by salespeople, instead preferring the clean and straightforward practice of science. When he was five years old, he was sent to a polio ward to recover from clubfoot surgery; this experience caused him to see children as vulnerable and helpless, and motivated him through the 25 years of the development of the rotavirus vaccine.
Offit decided to become a doctor, the first in his family. Offit earned his bachelor's degree from Tufts University and his M.D. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. One of his mentors at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was Maurice Hilleman, who developed several of the major vaccines in use today.
By 2008 Offit had become a leading advocate of childhood immunizations. He was opposed by vaccine critics, many of whom believe vaccines cause autism, a belief that has been rejected by major medical journals and professional societies. He received a death threat and received protection by an armed guard during meetings at the CDC. His 2008 book Autism's False Prophets catalyzed a backlash against the antivaccine movement in the U.S. He donated the royalties from the book to the Center for Autism Research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Offit served on the board of the American Council on Science and Health until 2015 when he resigned from the group, accusing them of crossing the line for their promotion of e-cigarettes. In 2015, Dr. Offit appeared in a vaccine awareness video created by Robert Till in which he advocated for teenage vaccinations.
Offit worked for 25 years on the development of a safe and effective vaccine against rotavirus, which is a cause of diarrhea, and which kills almost 600,000 children a year worldwide, about half as many as malaria kills; most deaths are outside the West. His interest in the disease stemmed from the death of a 9-month-old infant from rotavirus-caused dehydration while under his care as a pediatric resident in 1979.
Along with his colleagues Fred Clark and Stanley Plotkin, Offit invented RotaTeq, a pentavalent rotavirus vaccine manufactured by Merck & Co. Since 2006, RotaTeq has been one of two vaccines currently used against rotavirus.
In February 2006, RotaTeq was approved for inclusion in the recommended U.S. vaccination schedule, following its approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Premarketing studies found that RotaTeq was effective and safe, with an incidence of adverse events comparable to placebo. RotaTeq has been credited (by Peter Hotez) with saving hundreds of lives a day. Offit received an unspecified sum of money for his interest in RotaTeq. Offit was elected a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, in 2015.
In 2002, during a period of fears about bioterrorism, Offit was the only member of the CDC's advisory panel to vote against a program to give smallpox vaccine to tens of thousands of Americans. He later argued on 60 Minutes II and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer that the risk of harm for people getting the vaccine outweighed the risk of getting smallpox in the U.S. at the time.
Action against dietary supplements and alternative medicine
In December 2013, Sarah Erush and Offit declared the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has a moratorium on the use of dietary supplements without certain manufacturers' guarantee for quality.
- Our hospital has acted to protect the safety of our patients. No longer will we administer dietary supplements unless the manufacturer provides a third-party written guarantee that the product is made under the F.D.A.’s “good manufacturing practice” (G.M.P.) conditions, as well as a Certificate of Analysis (C.O.A.) assuring that what is written on the label is what’s in the bottle.
Offit defines alternative medicine as quackery when it involves unappreciated harm and replacement of conventional therapies that work, with alternative therapies that don't. His books and articles warn against expense and risk to health for recipients of alternative therapies. In 2013 Offit wrote the book Do you believe in Magic? – The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine. Offit states that the purpose of the book "is to take a critical look at the field of Alternative Medicine – to separate fact from myth." and that "There's only medicine that works and medicine that doesn't."(p. 6) One of Offit's concerns is the scare tactics he says proponents of Alternative Medicine will often use, in a 2010 podcast with the Point of Inquiry Offit stated "it is very difficult to unscare people when you scare them."
Offit has said that the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 should be overturned to provide proper oversight and action against supplement providers.
Offit is a recipient of numerous awards, including the J. Edmund Bradley Prize for Excellence in Pediatrics from the University of Maryland Medical School, the Young Investigator Award in Vaccine Development from the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the 2013 Maxwell Finland Award for Scientific Achievement and a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health. In 2018, Offit was awarded the Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal from the Sabin Vaccine Institute in Washington, DC for his work on the oral rotavirus vaccine and his leadership in promoting immunization.
In 2011 Offit was honored by the Biotechnology Industry Organization with the 2011 Biotech Humanitarian Award. Offit donated the award's $10,000 prize to the Vaccine Education Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Also in 2011, Offit was elected to the Institute of Medicine at the group's annual meeting. In 2013 Offit was presented with the Robert B. Balles Prize in Critical Thinking by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) for Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine. "Offit is a literal lifesaver... educates the public about the dangers of alternative medicine, may save many, many more."
Michael Specter wrote that Offit "has become a figure of hatred to the many vaccine denialists and conspiracy theorists." Specter reported that Offit had often been threatened with violence by anti-vaccine advocates, necessitating precautions such as screening Offit's packages for mail bombs and providing guards when Offit attends federal health advisory committee meetings. At a 2008 vaccine activism rally in Washington, D.C., environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. criticized Offit's ties to drug companies, calling him a "poster child for the term 'biostitute'." Curt Linderman Sr., the editor of the Autism File blog, wrote online that it would "be nice" if Offit "was dead".
- Peter Hotez ... says government health officials should take a bolder stand in reassuring the public. Hotez feels as strongly as Offit does about the science (saying vaccines cause autism, he says, "is like saying the world is flat"), but, like other busy scientists, he's less willing to enter the fray. "Here's someone who has created an invention that saves hundreds of lives every day," says Hotez, whose daughter, 15, has autism, "and he's vilified as someone who hates children. It's just so unfair."
Offit has written or co-written several books on vaccines, vaccination and the public, and antibiotics, as well as dozens of scholarly articles on the topic. Isabelle Rapin, a neurology professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, wrote in Neurology Today about Autism's False Prophets:
- This book explores why parents, seeking in vain for a cure and for an explanation of their child's problem, are so vulnerable to false hopes and to the nasty predators who have from time immemorial always taken advantage of the desperate in our society. ... [Offit] became outraged by Dr. Andrew Wakefield's 1998 study in the Lancet that blamed the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine for causing autism. Dr. Offit predicted the paper would precipitate a resurgence of measles and its serious complications, and even deaths – a prophecy soon realized.
In "The Cutter Incident" (see Cutter Laboratories incident), Offit describes fallout relating to an early poliovirus vaccine tragedy that had the effect of deterring production of already licensed vaccines and discouraging the development of new ones. Offit advocates for the repeal of religious exemptions to vaccine requirements, saying that such exemptions amount to medical neglect.
He has also written books on the instances where science generated harmful ideas (Pandora's Lab) and the history of religious opposition (in some groups) to modern medicine (Bad Faith).
His most recent book (You Bet Your Life) is a history of medical innovations with a particular focus on how some degree of risk is always present in medical innovation.
- Offit, Paul (2021). You Bet Your Life: From Blood Transfusions to Mass Vaccination, the Long and Risky History of Medical Innovation. ISBN 1541620399.
- Offit, Paul A. (2020). Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far. Harper. ISBN 1541620399.
- Offit, Paul A. (2020). Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far. Harper. ISBN 978-0062947499.
- Offit, Paul A. (2018). Bad Advice: or Why Celebrities, Politicians, and Activists Aren't Your Best Source of Health Information. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0231186988.
- Offit, Paul A. (2017). Pandora's Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong. National Geographic. ISBN 978-1426217982.
- Offit, Paul A. (2015). Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0465082964.
- Offit, Paul A. (2013). Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine. Harper. ISBN 978-0062222961.
- UK title: Killing Us Softly: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine
- Plotkin, Stanley; Orenstein, Walter; Offit, Paul A. (2012). Vaccines (sixth ed.). Saunders. ISBN 9781455700905.
- E. Allison Hagood; Stacy Mintzer Herlihy; Paul A. Offit (foreword) (2012). Your Baby's Best Shot: Why Vaccines Are Safe and Save Lives. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 978-1-4422-1578-8.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Offit, Paul A. (2011). Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-02149-9.
- Offit, Paul A. (2008). Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-14636-4.
- Offit, Paul A. (2007). Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases. Smithsonian Books/Collins. ISBN 978-0-06-122795-0.
- E-book version: Offit, Paul A. (2009). Vaccinated: Triumph, Controversy, and An Uncertain F. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061871511.
- Offit, Paul A. (2005). The Cutter Incident: How America's First Polio Vaccine Led to the Growing Vaccine Crisis. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-10864-4.
- Marshall, Gary S; Dennehy, Penelope H.; Greenberg, David P.; Offit, Paul A.; Tan, Tina Q. (2003). The Vaccine Handbook: A Practical Guide for Clinicians. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 978-0-7817-3569-8.
- Offit, Paul A.; Bell, Louis M. (1999). Vaccines: What Every Parent Should Know. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-02-863861-4.
- Offit, Paul A.; Fass-Offit, Bonnie; Bell, Louis M. (1999). Breaking the Antibiotic Habit: A Parent's Guide to Coughs, Colds, Ear Infections, and Sore Throats. John Wiley. ISBN 978-0-471-31982-5.
- Gerber JS, Offit PA (2009). "Vaccines and autism: a tale of shifting hypotheses". Clin Infect Dis. 48 (4): 456–61. doi:10.1086/596476. PMC 2908388. PMID 19128068. Lay summary – IDSA (January 30, 2009).
- Offit PA, Moser CA (2009). "The problem with Dr Bob's alternative vaccine schedule". Pediatrics. 123 (1): e164–9. doi:10.1542/peds.2008-2189. PMID 19117838. Lay summary – WebMD (December 29, 2008).
- Offit PA (2008). "Vaccines and autism revisited – the Hannah Poling case". N Engl J Med. 358 (20): 2089–91. doi:10.1056/NEJMp0802904. PMID 18480200.
- Offit, PA; Jew, RK (2003). "Addressing Parents' Concerns: Do Vaccines Contain Harmful Preservatives, Adjuvants, Additives, or Residuals?". Pediatrics. 112 (6): 1394–1397. doi:10.1542/peds.112.6.1394. ISSN 0031-4005. PMID 14654615.
- Coffin SE, Clark SL, Bos NA, Brubaker JO, Offit PA (1999). "Migration of antigen-presenting B cells from peripheral to mucosal lymphoid tissues may induce intestinal antigen-specific IgA following parenteral immunization". J Immunol. 163 (6): 3064–70. PMID 10477570.
- Moser CA, Speaker TJ, Offit PA (1998). "Effect of water-based microencapsulation on protection against EDIM rotavirus challenge in mice". Journal of Virology. 72 (5): 3859–62. doi:10.1128/JVI.72.5.3859-3862.1998. PMC 109610. PMID 9557670.
- Coffin SE, Offit PA (1998). "Induction of rotavirus- specific memory B cells in gut-associated lymphoid tissue after intramuscular immunization". Journal of Virology. 72 (4): 3479–83. doi:10.1128/JVI.72.4.3479-3483.1998. PMC 109862. PMID 9525687.
- Brown KA, Offit PA (1998). "Rotavirus-specific proteins are detected in murine macrophages in both intestinal and extraintestinal lymphoid tissues". Microbial Pathogenesis. 24 (6): 327–31. doi:10.1006/mpat.1997.0198. PMID 9632536.
- Moser CA, Cookinham S, Coffin SE, Clark HF, Offit PA (1998). "Relative importance of rotavirus-specific effector and memory B cell responses in protection against challenge". Journal of Virology. 72 (2): 1108–14. doi:10.1128/JVI.72.2.1108-1114.1998. PMC 124584. PMID 9445006.
- Coffin SE, Moser CA, Cohen S, Speaker TJ, Offit PA (1997). "Enhanced protection and mucosal immunity induced by intramuscular inoculation of mice with microencapsulated rotavirus". Journal of Virology. 71 (10): 7851–56. doi:10.1128/JVI.71.10.7851-7856.1997. PMC 192140. PMID 9311873.
- Coffin SE, Moser CA, Cohen S, Clark HF, Offit PA (1997). "Immunologic correlates of protection against rotavirus challenge after intramuscular immunization of mice". J Virol. 71 (10): 7851–56. doi:10.1128/JVI.71.10.7851-7856.1997. PMC 192140. PMID 9311873.
- Moser CA, Speaker TJ, Offit PA (1997). "Effect of microencapsulation on immunogenicity of a bovine herpes virus glycoprotein and inactivated influenza virus in mice". Vaccine. 15 (16): 1767–72. doi:10.1016/S0264-410X(97)00106-0. PMID 9364681.
- Lomotan EA, Brown KA, Speaker TJ, Offita PA (1997). "Aqueous-based microcapsules are detected primarily in gut-associated dendritic cells after oral inoculation of mice". Vaccine. 15 (17–18): 1959–62. doi:10.1016/S0264-410X(97)00108-4. PMID 9413108.
- Moser CA, Speaker TJ, Berlin JA, Offit PA (1996). "Aqueous-based microencapsulation enhances virus-specific humoral immune responses in mice after parenteral inoculation". Vaccine. 14 (13): 1235–38. doi:10.1016/S0264-410X(96)00026-6. PMID 8961511.
- Offit, Paul A. (December 14, 2013). "Skip the Supplements". The New York Times.
- Offit, Paul A. (November 11, 2013). "Alternative medicines are popular, but do any of them really work?". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
- Offit, Paul A. (October 11, 2009). "Nothing to fear but the flu itself". The New York Times.
- Offit, Paul A. (March 31, 2008). "Inoculated against facts". The New York Times.
- "Paul A. Offit 1951-". Contemporary Authors. January 1, 2008. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
- "Paul A. Offit, MD" (PDF).
- Mastrull, Diane (July 10, 2012). "A doctor's new career prescription: Frozen yogurt at the Shore". Philly.com. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
- Kalb C (November 3, 2008). "Stomping through a medical minefield". Newsweek. 152 (18): 62–3. PMID 18998447.
- "Scientific Advisory Board". Every Child by Two. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "ASF Founding Board Member Dr. Paul Offit Elected to the Institute of Medicine". Autism Science Foundation. October 18, 2011. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
- Offit, Paul (2015). Bad Faith. Basic Books. ISBN 1-336-02069-5. OCLC 904084490.
- McNeil DG Jr (January 12, 2009). "Book is rallying resistance to the antivaccine crusade". The New York Times. Retrieved January 13, 2009.
- Avril T (September 17, 2008). "Expert sees no link between vaccines and autism". Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Fagone J (June 2009). "Will this doctor hurt your baby?". Philadelphia. Archived from the original on June 8, 2009. Retrieved June 25, 2009.
- Campbell G (January 30, 2009). "Interview with Dr. Paul Offit, MD, on vaccine safety" (PDF). Books and Ideas. Podcast (MP3). Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- Wallace A (October 19, 2009). "An epidemic of fear: how panicked parents skipping shots endangers us all". Wired. Retrieved October 21, 2009.
- Boseley, Sarah (February 2, 2010). "Lancet retracts 'utterly false' MMR paper". The Guardian. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
- Taylor, Luke E.; Swerdfeger, Amy L.; Eslick, Guy D. (June 2014). "Vaccines are not associated with autism: An evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies". Vaccine. 32 (29): 3623–3629. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.04.085. PMID 24814559.
- Dietrich, Tamara (September 8, 2019). "Doctor takes on the anti-vaccine movement". The Daile Press. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
- "Author royalties from autism book donated to autism research" (Press release). Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. November 3, 2008.
- Lowes, Robert (April 22, 2015). "Group Tied to Dr Oz Critics Has Critics Too". Medscape.
- MCIC (November 23, 2015), Teen Vaccine Awareness Video | MCIC, retrieved April 26, 2016
- McNeil DG Jr (January 5, 2006). "Rotavirus drugs deemed safe and effective". New York Times. Retrieved October 2, 2008.
- Russell S (February 4, 2006). "FDA OKs safer vaccine for children". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 2, 2008.
- American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases (2007). "Prevention of rotavirus disease: guidelines for use of rotavirus vaccine". Pediatrics. 119 (1): 171–82. doi:10.1542/peds.2006-3134. PMID 17200286.
- "Ten Distinguished Scientists and Scholars Named Fellows of Committee for Skeptical Inquiry - CSI". www.csicop.org. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
- Kabat, Geoffrey. "Children's Hospital Of Philadelphia Bans Dietary Supplements From Its Pharmacy". Forbes. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
- Offit, Paul A. (2013). Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-222296-1.
- "Paul Offit – The Costs of Vaccine Denialism | Point of Inquiry". www.pointofinquiry.org. February 12, 2010. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- Colanduno, Derek (September 9, 2013). "Do You Believe In Magic? Interview with Paul Offit" (Audio). Skepticality Podcast. Skeptic Magazine. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
- Paul A. Offit, Millions Died Thanks to the Mother of Environmentalism—Carson made a critical mistake and a lot of people died as a result, Foundation for Economic Education, 17 June 2017.
- Burkholder, Amy (April 26, 2018). "Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Dr. Paul Offit Receives the 2018 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal". Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Archived from the original on May 2, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
- "Home". Archived from the original on March 12, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2011.
- George, John (June 29, 2011). "CHOP doctor who developed rotavirus vaccine honored".
- Stencel, Christine (October 17, 2011), IOM Elects 65 New Members, Five Foreign Associates, Institute of Medicine, archived from the original on November 13, 2012, retrieved October 19, 2011
- Fidalgo, Paul (July 2014). "CSI Announces Paul Offit As Winner of the 2013 Balles Prize". Skeptical Inquirer. CSICOP. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
- Specter, Michael (2009). Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-1-59420-230-8.
- Rapin I (January 15, 2009). "High Hopes, Shoddy Research and Elusive Therapies for Autism Examined and Exposed". Neurology Today. 9 (2): 23. doi:10.1097/01.NT.0000345037.57123.0b.
- Offit, Paul A. (May 10, 2013). "End religious exemption". About Philly.Com. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
- Sunstein, Cass R. (September 21, 2021). "A History of Medical Innovation That Doesn't Ignore the Side Effects". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
- Hall, Harriet (November 17, 2020). "Review of Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far by Paul A. Offit". Science-Based Medicine (sciencebasedmedicine.org).
- "Review of Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far by Paul A. Offit". Kirkus Reviews. March 2020.
- "Review of Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All by Paul A. Offit". December 2010.
Media related to Paul Offit at Wikimedia Commons
|Library resources about |
|By Paul Offit|
- Official website
- Paul Offit at IMDb
- on YouTube, July 7, 2013, Paul Offit presents "Do You Believe in Magic" to The Wistar Institute.
- on YouTube, Mar 9, 2011, Guest host, George Wohlreich, MD, Director and CEO of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, interviews Paul Offit, MD and Seth Mnookin.
- "The Vaccine War", PBS Frontline documentary, April 27, 2010. Extensive interviews with Dr. Offit.
- The Dangers of the Antivaccine Movement, Meredith Melnick, Time Magazine Feb. 24, 2011. Interview with Offit.
- Author of Overkill on Breaking it Down with Frank MacKay
- "Talking About Vaccines with Dr. Paul Offit: Age Groups and Vaccines (playlist)". YouTube. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
- "Talking about Vaccines with Dr. Paul Offit: COVID-19 (playlist)". YouTube. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
- "TwiV 720: With vaccines, Offit is on it". YouTube. Vincent Racaniello. February 14, 2021.