Paul Offit, MD

Paul Offit, MD, Director of the Vaccine Education Center and attending physician in the Division of Infectious Disease at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He is the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

He is a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as a member of the Food and Drug Administration Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, and a founding advisory board member of the Autism Science Foundation and the Foundation for Vaccine Research, a member of the Institute of Medicine and co-editor of the foremost vaccine text, Vaccines.

Dr. Offit has published more than 150 papers in medical and scientific journals in the areas of rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety. 1)

Developments in 2020

September 9, 2020 - Paul Offit has an interview with Eric Topol, MD, Editor-in Chief, Medscape, on the developments of the covid-19_vaccines. Offit spoke of the unprecedented nature of the current virus; he sought more humility from the vaccine manufactures about development; the goal of the trials is safety. Offit stated that the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) reports to the company manufacturing the vaccine. They provide guidance to the company. Topol was intrigued as his experience is that DSMB keep companies out of the loop.

Topol stated that there is a FDA advisory committee meeting scheduled for Oct. 22, 2020 that would only have midstream, ongoing trial data. Offit stated that they wouldn't see data at the meeting unless the DSMB stated that they were good to go.

Offit stated that you would only know about rare adverse events once vaccines were out (immune disease and antibody-dependnet enhancement). He believed that the mRNA itself is a safe molecule; it breaks down quickly, but the complex lipid delivery system is reactogenic.

Topol stated that the trails are not representative of Americans; they are predominantly white and don't include aged individuals nor children. Offit states that the products cannot be recommended for someone who is greater than or equal to 65 unless thee is clear safety and efficacy date in that age group. He couldn't see how DSMB or FDA advisory committee would allow a vaccine to be recommend for a group without adequate data.

Offit states that there are two ways to stop the virus: Hygiene and vaccine; Hygiene is the stronger factor. Depending on vaccine effectiveness, you could still have individuals getting sick or potentially shedding the virus.

Offit shares a formula, if you have a 75% effective vaccine against significant shedding, then you would need to immunize about two thirds of the American population to get the R0 to less than 1, meaning to stop spread, which is what you want. 2)

Nov. 19, 2020 - Paul Offit is quoted in response to a quite from Senator Rand Paul about Natural Infection and Naturally acquired immunity. Offit writes that reinfections appear to be rare, which bodes well for both vaccine and immunity from infection. Most vaccines do not offer quite as good protection from a pathogen as a natural infection will — but of course, a person has to survive or suffer through the infection. There are vaccines that offer better protection. Since 30-40% of the population could be high risk for COVID-19, he didn't' think support naturally-acquired immunity was the best approach. 3)

Developments in 2021

Jan. 21, 2021 - Interview by Howard Bauchner, MD, Editor of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), of UCSF School of Medicine's Robert M. Wachter, MD, and Paul A. Offit, MD.

Wachter advocated for single dose distribution to a larger population with the second dose delayed to provide some efficacy to a larger group. Offit stated multiple concerns with this approach: 1. the efficacy of one dose since no T cell response was noted until the second; 2. Societal perception that if one dose has a certain percent efficacy, why bother with the second.

Offit suggested that if efficacy is as predicted and shedding of the virus is less/low in vaccinated individuals, 65 million people vaccinated with two doses might stop the spread.

There was some dialogue at this time that Israel was already presenting efficacy concerns. Offit referenced that we will look to Israel for a lot of insights in the vaccine from efficacy of 1 dose, to 2 doses, to viral shedding, etc.

Offit expressed concern that if people vaccinated are exposed to variants and get sick, they might require a multi-variant vaccine approach and this could be very problematic. 4)

April 21, 2021 - Offit is quoted in an article, “The Big COVID Vaccine Holdouts: Republican Men, where he speaks to the two sides of hesitancy; republicans who don't want government overreach and the liberals who don't want anything going into their bodies. He expressed concern about cynicism toward vaccines that is outside of logic. He and other experts shared that this could lead to vaccine passport because the majority vaccinated will not want someone to get them sick. 5)

June 10, 2021 - Offit believes that children absolutely need to be vaccinated against COVID especially as variants are becoming more contagious. 6)

June 11, 2021 - Offit is quoted in an article, Will People Really Need a Yearly COVID Booster Vaccine? that he doesn't believe that boosters would be necessary as vaccines appear to prevent severe infection. Dr. Greg Poland, director of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. agrees. 7)

August 25, 2021 - Offit opinion voiced in CNN article, “You do not have the 'constitutional right' to refuse the Covid-19 vaccine” saying that there is no right to act in a way that would harm others.8)

September 20, 2021 - Video from C-Span speaking to boosters not being needed at this time as studies suggest that original vaccine series holds up in efficacy of prevention of severe disease. He adamantly argues that the focus should be on getting unvaccinated adults and children their original dose. The advisory committee might provide guidance for those 65 and older and immunocompromised individuals to get a booster. We have little data on booster doses. Suggested waiting on third dose for 20 year old with Asthma. He states that Myocarditis was a surprise.9)

Nov. 23, 2021 - Offit speaks about the need to continue vaccinating the unvaccinated, but doesn't support a booster for all approach. He states that those in the hospitals are those who received no vaccines versus original series or boosters. The number of people who need to be vaccinated for us to end the pandemic has changed because of the Contagious Index due to Delta. There are still 60 million people who aren't vaccinated; many are adults. 10)

Dec. 15, 2021 - Offit shares his continued belief that boosters are not required for the collective population and that this will not lead the country out of the pandemic. He believes that the focus needs to be on the remaining unvaccinated individuals. Prevention against mild infection will fade, so what are we getting from boosting healthy, young individuals? 11)

Developments in 2022

Jan. 23, 2022 - Offit has received opposition in his belief that booster shots are not for all. In an article, “I won't Call Dr. Paul Offit an Anti-Vaxxer, there is an argument supporting Dr. Offit's collective reflection on the COVID-19 pandemic, his consistency of thought about vaccinating all and his consistent hesitation toward boosters without further data to support. 12)

Feb. 25, 2022 - In the article, “Growing Number of Experts Call on US Govt to Recognize Natural Immunity,” Offit states that Natural infection should count as two doses. Offit is an expert that supports hybrid immunity, papers that show that those previously infected with and then receive a single dose are better protected than those with simply a prior infection. 13)

1)
Philadelphia, The Children’s Hospital of. “Paul A. Offit, MD.” Www.chop.edu, 24 Aug. 2014, www.chop.edu/doctors/offit-paul-a.
2)
“Paul Offit’s Biggest Concern about COVID Vaccines.” Medscape, 9 Sept. 2020, www.medscape.com/viewarticle/936937#vp_8. Accessed 27 Feb. 2022.
3)
McDonald, Jessica. “Paul Misleads on Natural Infection and COVID-19 Vaccines.” FactCheck.org, 19 Nov. 2020, www.factcheck.org/2020/11/paul-misleads-on-natural-infection-and-covid-19-vaccines/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2022.
4)
Bauchner, Howard. “Coronavirus Vaccine Update with Paul Offit and Robert Wachter.” Vurbl.com, 21 Jan. 2021, vurbl.com/listen/coronavirus-vaccine-update-with-paul-offit-and-robert-wachter-38DLhdoH3sd/#description. Accessed 27 Feb. 2022.
5)
Thompson, Dennis. “The Big COVID Vaccine Holdouts: Republican Men.” MedicineNet, MedicineNet, 21 Apr. 2021, www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=255670. Accessed 27 Feb. 2022.
6)
Mendez, Rich. “Top FDA Advisor Says Kids Need to Be Vaccinated against Covid.” CNBC, 10 June 2021, www.cnbc.com/2021/06/10/top-fda-advisor-says-kids-need-to-be-vaccinated-against-covid.html. Accessed 27 Feb. 2022.
7)
Thompson, Dennis. “Will People Really Need a Yearly COVID Booster Vaccine?” U.S. News, 11 June 2021, www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-06-11/will-people-really-need-a-yearly-covid-booster-vaccine.
8)
Offit, Opinion by Marci Hamilton and Paul. “Opinion: You Do Not Have the ‘Constitutional Right’ to Refuse the Covid-19 Vaccine.” CNN, 25 Aug. 2021, www.cnn.com/2021/08/25/opinions/unvaccinated-cant-use-constitutional-rights-excuse-hamilton-offit/index.html.
9)
“Dr. Paul Offit on Boosters and Vaccines for Children | C-SPAN.org.” Www.c-Span.org, 20 Sept. 2021, www.c-span.org/video/?514731-5/washington-journal-dr-paul-offit-discusses-boosters-vaccines-children#. Accessed 27 Feb. 2022.
10)
“Paul Offit, MD, Discusses the Importance of Pediatric COVID Vaccination.” American Medical Association, 23 Nov. 2021, www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/paul-offit-md-discusses-importance-pediatric-covid-vaccination.
11)
Walsh, James D. “A Skeptic’s Case against Boosting Everyone.” Intelligencer, 15 Dec. 2021, nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/12/omicron-dr-paul-offit-is-skeptical-of-boosters-for-all.html. Accessed 27 Feb. 2022.
12)
Howard, Jonathan. “I Won’t Call Dr. Paul Offit an Anti-Vaxxer | Science-Based Medicine.” Sciencebasedmedicine.org, 23 Jan. 2022, sciencebasedmedicine.org/i-wont-call-dr-offit-an-anti-vaxxer/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2022.
13)
Durden, Tyler. “Growing Number of Experts Call on US Govt to Recognize natural immunity.” ZeroHedge, 25 Feb. 2022, www.zerohedge.com/covid-19/growing-number-experts-call-us-govt-recognize-natural-immunity. Accessed 27 Feb. 2022.
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