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Ask The Expert - Author Dr. Paul Offit

Published: August 26, 2013
Sponsored By: Undefined
Session Closed
Session Expert: Dr. Paul Offit , Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia


Paul A. Offit, MD is the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In addition, Dr. Offit is the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is also the author of five medical narratives: The Cutter Incident: How America’s First Polio Vaccine Led to Today’s Growing Vaccine Crisis (Yale University Press, 2005), Vaccinated: One Man’s Quest to Defeat the World’s Deadliest Diseases (HarperCollins, 2007), for which he won an award from the American Medical Writers Association, Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure (Columbia University Press, 2008), Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All (Basic Books, 2011), and Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine (HarperCollins, 2013).

With Dr. Offit’s breath of knowledge please feel free to ask him questions about his vaccine work, his vaccine related medical narratives, or his recent medical narrative on the sense and nonsense of alternative medicine.

Questions and Answers

What do you believe is the biggest obstacle faced in vaccine manufacturing today?

I think the biggest obstacle is an increasingly greater burden of regulatory issues by the Food and Drug Administration. It’s much more difficult to make vaccines today than 15 years… Read More


I saw a clip on your new book and I was wondering in light of your new book. How would you recommend people research which if any vitamins are right for them?

The best answer to that question is to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and make sure you go out into the sun about 15 minutes per day at least… Read More


I am a concerned parent that lives in a school district where parents opting out of vaccination by using the religious exemption is about 6%. As a parent that vaccinates their child and sees the tremendous value of vaccines, I am concerned about children endangering my child because they are not vaccinated. Are my fears founded or does vaccinating my child protect them from these children that aren’t vaccinated.

Unfortunately, you fears are well-founded. That’s because no vaccine is 100 percent effective. To support this statement, there was a study reported in the Journal of Infectious Diseases about a… Read More


Which up and coming vaccine technologies do you think show the most promise?

My fantasy vaccine technology would be microencapsulation. There is no reason why all vaccines couldn’t be given by mouth. This would address the most common concern parents have: painful injections.… Read More


Do you think polio will ever be eradicated?

Yes. Although it is apparently going to take much longer than originally hoped. The reasons for optimism are that it has been eradicated from developing nations and that there are… Read More


We are working on a low cost device that is used with a syringe. Its use results in a substantial increase in the intradermal (ID) injection success while requiring minimal training in Mantoux technique. The current use of ID vaccination is limited to BCG and rabies and TB testing. Would you please suggest vacines in development that would likely benefit from a simple ID injection device.

The intradermal site is rich in dendritic cells and, consequently, an excellent site for inducing immune responses. The best current example being the intradermal influenza vaccine. So one could reasonably… Read More


Which vaccine, past or present, do you think has made the biggest impact on society?

Smallpox was a disease that has probably killed more than 500 million people. In many ways, the disease changed the course of history for nations that were overwhelmed by the… Read More


What do you think the next big vaccine breakthrough will be?

I think the next big breakthrough will be a meningococcal vaccine that contains cross-reactive proteins that protect against all 5 prevalent serogroups; specifically, serogroups , A, C, Y, W, and… Read More


Do you believe that vaccine manufacturing will eventually move to an entirely cell-based manufacturing? If so, what do you think will be the hurdles that must be overcome to make this happen?

Probably the best example is the influenza vaccine, which for decades was made in hen’s eggs. Now we have a mammalian-cell-based vaccine, which in many ways is an easier and… Read More


What do you think were the biggest factors that led to the anti-vaccine movement and what can we do to change public perception and assure safety.

Regarding the first part of your question, I think that the single greatest factor that led to an anti-vaccine backlash (which began in the early 1800s in response to the… Read More