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Paul Offit

Paul A. Offit, MD, is a pediatrician specializing in infectious disease medicine, an internationally known expert on vaccines, immunology, and virology, the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Offit has been a member of the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Dr. Offit has published more than 120 papers in medical and scientific journals in the areas of rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety and is the co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine recently recommended for universal use in infants by the CDC. Offit is the co-author of three books, entitled Vaccines: What You Should Know (2003), Breaking the Antibiotic Habit (1999), The Cutter Incident: How America’s First Polio Vaccine Led to Today’s Growing Vaccine Crisis (2005), and Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases (2007).



Offit earned his bachelor's degree from Tufts University and his Medical Doctor credentials from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Rotavirus and the CDC

Offit is a co-patent holder for RotaTeq, a rotavirus vaccine manufactured by Merck in 2006. It is the second vaccine against rotavirus to be introduced in the United States (the first, RotaShield, was withdrawn from the market six months after its introduction because of an association with intussusception).

The rotavirus vaccine is necessary to protect public health, according to many experts. In the US, rotavirus is blamed for killing about sixty children a year. Rotavirus is often a deadly disease in developing countries, where it is thought to cause nearly a million deaths annually from severe dehydration.

Rotavirus vaccine returns

In February, 2006, RotaTeq was approved for inclusion in the recommended US vaccination schedule, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted marketing approval to Merck. Two studies, by Merck and its competitor GlaxoSmithKline, were published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluding that the new vaccines have overcome the problems that plagued the original rotavirus vaccine.


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 Disease Society of America, and a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health.


  • "If they were willing to look at all the studies that were done with vaccines, they would find that they are, I think without question, the safest, best-tested thing we put into our bodies. I think they have a better safety record than vitamins." (60 Minutes, October 20, 2004)
  • "I think without question the smallpox vaccine has severe adverse events that occur at a rate far greater than any of the other vaccines that we use today. Which means that the smallpox vaccine, is I think, without question, our least safe vaccine. But it is absolutely safe if one defines 'safe' as benefits outweigh risks in a situation where the disease is present. When the disease isn't present, then one only is frankly aware of the risks, because there are no benefits." (PBS, 2002)



  • 2007, Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases, Smithsonian Books/Collins, ISBN 978-0-06-122795-0
  • 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
  • 2003, Vaccines: What You Should Know (third edition), with Louis M. Bell, Wiley
  • 1999, Vaccines: What Every Parent Should Know, by Paul A. Offit and Louis M. Bell
  • 1999, Breaking the Antibiotic Habit: A Parent's Guide to Coughs, Colds, Ear Infections, and Sore Throats, with Bonnie Fass-Offit and Louis M. Bell
  • The Vaccine Handbook: A Practical Guide for Clinicians, with Gary S. Marshall, Penelope H. Dennehy, David P. Greenberg and Tina Q. Tan

Medical articles

  • Moser, C.A., Speaker, T.J., Berlin, J.A., and Offit, P.A. 1996. "Aqueous-based microencapsulation enhances rotavirus-specific humoral immune responses after parenteral inoculation of mice". Vaccine 14:1235-1238.
  • Lomotan, E.A., Brown, K.A., Speaker, T.J., and Offit, P.A. 1997. "Aqueous-based microcapsules are detected primarily in gut-associated dendritic cells after oral inoculation of mice". Vaccine 15:1959-1962.
  • Moser, C.A., Speaker, T.J., and Offit, P.A. 1997. "Effect of microencapsulation on immunogenicity of a bovine herpes virus glycoprotein and inactivated influenza virus in mice. Vaccine 15: 1767-1772.
  • Coffin, S.E., Moser, C.A., Cohen, S., Clark, HF., and Offit, P.A. 1997. "Immunologic correlates of protection against challenge after intramuscular immunization of mice with rotavirus". Journal of Virology. 71:7851-7856.
  • Moser, C.A., Cookinham, S., Coffin, S.E., Clark, HF, and Offit, P.A. 1998. "Relative importance of rotavirus-specific effector and memory B cell responses in protection against challenge". Journal of Virology. 72:1108-1114.
  • Brown, K.A. and Offit, P.A. 1998. "Rotavirus-specific proteins are detected in murine macrophages in both intestinal and extraintestinal lymphoid tissue". Microbial Pathogen. 24:327-331.
  • Coffin, S.E., and Offit, P.A. 1998. "Induction of rotavirus- specific memory B cells in gut-associated lymphoid tissue after intramuscular immunization. Journal of Virology. 72:3479-3483.
  • Moser, C.A., Speaker, T.J., and Offit, P.A. 1998. "Effect of water-based microencapsulation on protection against EDIM rotavirus challenge in mice". Journal of Virology. 72:3859-3862.
  • Coffin, S.E., Moser, C.A., Cohen, S., Speaker, T.J., and Offit, P.A. 1997. "Enhanced protection and mucosal immunity induced by intramuscular inoculation of mice with microencapsulated rotavirus". Journal of Virology 71(10): 7851-6.
  • Coffin, S.E., Clark, S.A., Bos, N.A., and Offit, P.A. 1999. "Migration of antigen-presenting B cells from peripheral to mucosal lymphoid tissues may induce intestinal antigen-specific IgA following parenteral immunization". Journal of Immunology 163:3064-3070.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Paul_Offit". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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