Comic Relief and the Great Lengths Dr. Offit Will Go To Advocate for Vaccines
Feb 01, 2011

I have to admit, I was curious to see how Dr. Paul Offit would be interviewed on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report, which is why I stayed up until midnight to see the show air last night.
I must say, Dr. Offit seemed oddly comfortable with the slightly ridiculous questions he received from Colbert in this comedy format.  Of course, I’m not surprised.  The world needs more people like Dr. Offit.  He is direct, to the point, and not afraid to tell it like it is.  Yet, what is most impressive is that he does it so effortlessly and in a way that anyone could understand.  All great news for parents who question vaccines.
Obviously Colbert was prepared with all the obvious, slightly ridiculous questions like, (and I’m paraphrasing), “My kid doesn’t ever get sick, so why does he need vaccines?” 
In referring to herd immunity, Colbert suggests putting “all the people who don’t get vaccinated into a big bubble”.
And my favorite of the night, when referring to the number of vaccinations that young children receive, Colbert says “These kids can’t even handle an unpeeled grape, and we’re like carpet bombing them with vaccines?”
But, as Colbert exercised his comedic timing, he did it to be funny – not disrespectful.  The delight came in watching Dr. Offit smile politely and respond to each question with poise and clarity – and even a bit of light hearted fun.
When he is questioned about the lack of diseases present today, and the suggestion that vaccines may not be necessary, he replies, “When they work, absolutely nothing happens.”  While it sounded humorous, it was entirely true and highlighted the fact that vaccination success is often what causes people to question their necessity.
When Colbert brought up the suggestion that vaccines may be linked to autism, Dr. Offit clarified that studies clearly indicate that there is no proven link.  Colbert pointed out that he wasn’t aware of such studies, Dr. Offit took that as an opportunity to admit that scientists are not doing a good enough job at getting the word out.
I think the most intriguing part of the entire segment was that some of Colbert’s statements, though intended to be a bit outrageous, were likely questions that real parents would ask (if they only thought their doctor would actually take them seriously).  By appearing in this format, Dr. Offit has certainly proven that vaccine advocates will go to great lengths to educate even the most non-traditional audiences about the importance of vaccines.  By making the most of this interview opportunity, he has once again clearly delivered on his message.  Vaccinations are important and the choice not to get vaccinated is certainly a risky one.
So what did you think of Dr. Offit’s appearance on the Colbert Report?  Share your thoughts with us here.

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