Home > In the News, Science & Research > Honoring Dr. Offit: Energizer and Humanitarian

Honoring Dr. Offit: Energizer and Humanitarian

I guess I could compare Dr. Paul Offit to an Energizer bunny.  Not to say he is fluffy in any way.  I mean this with absolutely no disrespect.  It’s just that he is a man on a mission that just keeps on going and going – and giving as well.

As Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, he certainly has plenty to keep him busy.  Dr. Offit is also the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.  As if that isn’t enough, he has authored several medical narratives and holds frequent speaking engagements in which he addresses the benefits of life-saving immunizations.

While committed to all of these positions, Dr. Offit continues to take on new challenges as well.  Therefore, it is not surprising to hear that he was recently honored with the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s 2011 Biotech Humanitarian Award. BIO, the trade organization representing the life sciences industry, established the Humanitarian Award in 2009 to “recognize everyday heroes within the biotechnology community who have helped heal, fuel and feed the planet through their work.”  According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of BIO, explains how Dr. Offit exemplifies these qualities.

“[Dr. Offit’s] personal endeavors in developing one of only two rotavirus vaccines available today, his dedication to bringing awareness to the benefits of vaccinating children and his work at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, can be credited with saving countless lives every day.”

“Through his innovative science, exceptional work as an advocate and ability to communicate complicated concepts in a direct and easy-to-understand manner, Dr. Offit epitomizes what we look for in a biotech humanitarian.”

In applauding Dr. Offit on this award, I wanted to share with you my impressions of the man on the few occasions when I’ve had the pleasure to meet him.

When you meet someone as accomplished as Dr. Offit, it’s surprising to realize how humble they can be, as I  immediately recognized when first having met Dr. Offit.  Despite the continuous threats and harassment he receives from anti-vaccine activists, his courage is unwavering and his passionate convictions quite impressive.   It has also been refreshing to witness his genuine sense of humor, as seen in his appearance on  Comedy Central’s Colbert Report.  These simple observations speak more about his true character than any job title on his resume.

I believe he received this honorable humanitarian award because each day he marches on – like that Energizer bunny – in hopes of saving children’s lives.  Fortunately, he is not only an intelligent doctor, but he has a fascinating ability to explain even the most complicated scientific matters with such eloquence that he can be credited for helping countless people understand the complexities of immunizations. Clearly, he is recognized as one of the most active and passionate vaccine advocates in the medical community today and while he beats his drum of vaccine truths – day after day – his message is clearly being heard.

I – for one – am grateful for the energy he has.  What he does, he does with grace, and he generously gives of his precious time, talent and treasures.  Just as he has generously donated the royalties from the sale of his books Autism’s False Prophets and Deadly Choices to autism research, he is also donating the award’s $10,000 prize to CHOP’s Vaccine Education Center.

We can only hope that the children – whose lives are spared through immunizations – will one day recognize Dr. Offit as the great humanitarian he is.  He is completely committed to improving the lives of other people, and while he may never become a household name, perhaps students of medicine and public health will recognize him as a fearless example of a great humanitarian as well as a compassionate advocate of sound science that inspires others and further enhances our health and well-being.

Thank you Dr. Offit for all you have done, and continue to do.  There are so many people who are so very grateful.

  1. July 8, 2011 at 10:34 am

    It’s horrible for anyone to be treated the way anti-vaccinationists treat him, but especially someone who has contributed as much to humanity as he has… he deserves so much better.

    I, too, am grateful for Paul Offit’s work.

    And I’m going to be really irritated when all of the “Paul PrOffit” comments start showing up, as they inevitably will…

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  2. Kelly
    July 8, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I don’t know if Dr. Offit will read this, but I hope he does. I would also like to thank you, Dr. Offit for all you have done and continue to do. You most definitely have been a positive example to me. Congratulations on the new award. You certainly do deserve it!

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  3. Red Queen
    July 8, 2011 at 11:47 am

    It was reading Autism’s False Prophets that began my vaccine education and gave me an invisible shield against the fearmongering that can cripple a new parent in making the best and most responsible medical choices for their children. From there I learned more about appraising medical information and critical thinking. Dr. Offit changed the way I think… and not just about vaccines- for the better. His vaccine and advocacy likely save hundreds of thousands of children every year, he gives a tremendous amount of his income to Autism research to help find answers to this mysterious and challenging condition, and he keeps at it in spite of threats from some very aggressive, misguided, and unstable people. I respect him greatly and I am grateful for his work. Thank you, Dr. Offit!

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  4. Patricia
    July 8, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Thank you Dr. Offit! You put up with so much from the anti-vaxxers but you just keep marching on trying to educate the public. What you did in developing the rotavirus vaccine is amazing and I hope you continue your work for a long long time!

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  5. July 8, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    I love dr. offit. I think he has done more to turn thinking people against vaccines than could have been accomplished by 100 thousand anti-vaccine activists.

    Keep it up!

    (We all especially love the 100,000 vaccines meme)

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  6. Kelly
    July 8, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    Yet another example of how anti-vaccine activists lie to promote their cause. They have to lie because they don’t have anything else to go on. MV is making up a scary number to try to discredit Dr. Offit. Here is the actual quote:

    “A more practical way to determine the diversity of the immune response would be to estimate the number of vaccines to which a child could respond at one time. If we assume that 1) approximately 10 ng/mL of antibody is likely to be an effective concentration of antibody per epitope (an immunologically distinct region of a protein or polysaccharide) 2) generation of 10 ng/mL requires approximately 10^3 B-cells per mL, 3) a single B-cell clone takes about 1 week to reach the 10^3 progeny B-cells required to secrete 10 ng/mL of antibody (therefore, vaccine-epitope specific immune responses found about 1 week after immunization can be generated initially from a single B-cell clone per mL), 4) each vaccine contains approximately 100 antigens and 10 epitopes per antigen (ie, 10^3 epitopes), and 5) approximately 10^7 B cells are present per mL of circulating blood, then
    each infant would have the theoretical capacity to respond to about 10 000 vaccines at any one time (obtained by dividing 10^7 B cells per mL by 10^3 epitopes per vaccine).”

    http://www.aap.org/immunization/families/overwhelm.pdf

    So if MV is off by a factor of 10 in a simple quote (100,000 vs 10, 000), how can MV to do a complicated risk:benefit analysis? I wonder how many order of magnitudes MV is off there to conclude the risk outweighs the benefit, especially when this conclusion goes against the recommendation of experts worldwide. Who do you think is wrong? MV who can’t even get the numbers of a quote right, or experts that do this for a living and peer-review each others work? Also notice that Offit’s estimation is actually based on science. The original paper includes the reference for the number’s Offit’s basing his estimation on. MV also missed the “theoretical” part. Offit isn’t advocating that babies receive 10,000 vaccines. So not only does MV fail at numbers, MV fails at reading comprehension, all while trying to pull of sarcasm. Well, at least MV is funny, like the fool is funny in a Shakespearean play.

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  7. July 9, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    My goodness, what a polite, thoughtful and well-researched response. Only trouble is…it is wrong. Here is the article I was referring to: ‘Recently, Offit set off a flurry of angry postings when he said that a baby’s immune system could handle as many as 10,000 vaccines. Then he upped the ante, saying it was probably “closer to 100,000.”‘ http://www.newsweek.com/2008/10/24/stomping-through-a-medical-minefield.html

    Published in Newsweek.

    Note that Offit is speculating.

    In addition, there is actual evidence that children cannot respond to an unlimited number of antigens. Originally the measles vaccine was given alone. Later it was combined with the mumps and rubella vaccines. Quite recently a new version, containing MMR plus varicella (chickenpox) came out. Unfortunately, although this vaccine falls far short of 10,000 or 100,000 antigens, toddlers still had problems.

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/populations/clinicians_populations_mmrv.html

    “The rate of febrile seizures during the 7-10 days after vaccination was about 2 times higher in children who received MMRV vaccine (9 per 100,000 children vaccinated), compared with children who received measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) and varicella vaccines separately at the same visit (4 per 100,000 children vaccinated).
    During the 7-10 days after vaccination, about one additional febrile seizure would be expected to occur among every 2,000 children vaccinated with MMRV vaccine compared with children vaccinated with MMR and varicella vaccine administered at the same visit.”

    A very good example of the difference between Dr. Offit theorizing about the immune system and actual responses of real live toddlers to a dose of only 4 (four) vaccines at one time.

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  8. Kelly
    July 9, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Yet, the MMR and varicella vaccine can be given on the same day, but at two different injection sites, without any problems with febrile seizures. WOW. One sentence blows MV’s whole objection out of the water.

    But it gets worse for MV. The Newsweekly article does not actually quote Dr. Offit saying the 100,000 figure and refers to posters on Age of Autism. Perhaps the magazine article is just as confused about the number as MV, which wouldn’t be hard given anti-vaxers tendency to make-up numbers and present it as fact and then repeat it over and over to create the meme. But it really doesn’t matter if Offit is speculating because children are not given 100,000 or even 10,000 or even 10 vaccines at one time. Offit was making the point that the number of vaccines given at one time are no where near the amount the immune system could handle. The testing of the vaccines shows this to be true. Too bad MV is incapable of understanding this point and somehow thinks that Dr. Offit’s attempts to put the science into context for parents makes him an evil man. I’m sorry that words and numbers are out of your intellectual capacity, MV, but those of us that do understand the science know the anti-vaccine position is based on misinformation, misconception and logical fallacy.

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  9. Kelly
    July 9, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    As I reread MV’s post, I also notice that MV has difficulty counting. The MMR is one vaccine and given with varicella vaccine counts as two vaccines. Likewise, MMRV is one vaccine, not 4 vaccines as MV claims. Apparently MV can’t read for comprehension, quote simple numbers or count. I ask again, is someone who cannot even master these elementary skills someone you want to take medical advice from, especially when this advice asks you to reject the advice of real medical experts, like Dr. Offit, and has the potential risk of serious suffering for your child?

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  10. Sian
    July 9, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    As a mother of three, and a nurse immuniser, I commend Dr Offit. Fortunately people like Minority View are a minority. While they are entitled to express their views they must excuse the rest of us our eye-rolling disdain.

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  11. July 9, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    MMR = Measles, Mumps and Rubella
    MMRV = Measles, Mumps and Rubella and Varicella

    1 Shot, 4 vaccines.

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  12. Kelly
    July 10, 2011 at 12:32 am

    Oh I see Rick is another anti-vaxer that doesn’t understand what he is talking about. Rick is confused on what a vaccine is. The vaccine is the product which contains different antigens to stimulate an immune response to those antigens. The antigens might be in the form of a live attenuated virus like MMR, inactivated toxoid like DTaP, purified subunits like HepB vaccine or inactivated microbe like IPV. The vaccine may be injected, ingested or inhaled. In the case of injected, one shot = 1 vaccine. The vaccine itself may contain several antigenic components. MMR contains 3 components: attenuated measles virus, attenuated mumps virus and attenuated rubella virus. The pneumococcal vaccines can contain 7, 13, or 23 serotypes, but are each only 1 vaccine. We don’t say pneumovax23 is 23 vaccines. It is one vaccine containing 23 serotype components, for example. IPV contains 3 killed serotypes and is only 1 vaccine, not 3. DTaP contains the diphtheria toxoid, tetanus toxoid and 2-5 antigenic components of B. pertussis depending on the manufacturer. It is still 1 vaccine.

    This is basic stuff. How can you say you are against vaccines when you don’t even know what a vaccine is? Rick thinks MMR contains 3 diseases. Well, no wonder he thinks the risk of the risk of the vaccine outweighs the risk of the disease. I wouldn’t want to inject my kid with 3 diseases either! The good news is that one vaccine protects against 3 diseases using a attenuated viruses to give the immunity without causing the diseaseOwens MMRV is one vaccine that protects against 4 diseases. How can anyone give the anti-vax side any credence when they fail so spectacularly on the basics? Yet. They foolishly think they know more than the experts.

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  13. Steve Michaels
    July 11, 2011 at 6:03 am

    I will preface my comment by pointing out a couple of things in anticipation of the replies my comment will receive. First, a quote from an interesting article on beliefs and how they are reinforced in argument, particularly online:

    “Most online battles follow a similar pattern, each side launching attacks and pulling evidence from deep inside the web to back up their positions until, out of frustration, one party resorts to an all-out ad hominem nuclear strike. If you are lucky, the comment thread will get derailed in time for you to keep your dignity, or a neighboring commenter will help initiate a text-based dogpile on your opponent.”

    Secondly, from a concurrently published article about the methodology that is used by the MSM to always ‘win’ an argument even when the facts prove them wrong:

    “2.Character Assasination/Ad Hominem: Fox does not like to waste time debating the idea. Instead, they prefer a quicker route to dispensing with their opponents: go after the person’s credibility, motives, intelligence, character, or, if necessary, sanity. No category of character assasination is off the table and no offense is beneath them. Fox and like-minded media figures also use ad hominem attacks not just against individuals, but entire categories of people in an effort to discredit the ideas of every person who is seen to fall into that category, e.g. “liberals,” “hippies,” “progressives” etc. This form of argument – if it can be called that – leaves no room for genuine debate over ideas, so by definition, it is undemocratic. Not to mention just plain crass.

    3. Projection/Flipping: This one is frustrating for the viewer who is trying to actually follow the argument. It involves taking whatever underhanded tactic you’re using and then accusing your opponent of doing it to you first. We see this frequently in the immigration discussion, where anti-racists are accused of racism, or in the climate change debate, where those who argue for human causes of the phenomenon are accused of not having science or facts on their side. It’s often called upon when the media host finds themselves on the ropes in the debate.

    7. Bullying: This is a favorite technique of several Fox commentators. That it continues to be employed demonstrates that it seems to have some efficacy. Bullying and yelling works best on people who come to the conversation with a lack of confidence, either in themselves or their grasp of the subject being discussed. The bully exploits this lack of confidence by berating the guest into submission or compliance. Often, less self-possessed people will feel shame and anxiety when being berated and the quickest way to end the immediate discomfort is to cede authority to the bully. The bully is then able to interpret that as a “win.””

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/07/06/propaganda-the-news-and-what-people-believe-and-why/

    I point these out in advance because one particular commentator on here thoroughly enjoys using these particular techniques when ‘engaging’ in debate. I will not be debating my point. I will not be entering into childish arguments like ‘my source is bigger than your source’ or other immature tactics. I will make my statement, support my claims and let independent minded readers decide whether Offitt should be praised or vilified.

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  14. Steve Michaels
    July 11, 2011 at 7:01 am

    Now for the actual comment:

    Without delving into the world of discrediting Dr. Andrew Wakefield too deeply (as it has been exhaustively discussed already), a fair summation of the pro-vax argument is that Wakefield acted unethically, falsified results and accepted money without reporting it from an interested party to the research he was conducting. ALL of these complaints were filed by a journalist named Brian Deer. Wakefield was struck off by the GMC. This was because of accepting money which was construed as a conflict of interest (which was reported at the time by Wakefield’s solicitor) and not for falsifying research, results or records (which were never substantiated even though it would have been quite easy to prove that the children’s “redbook” entries had been changed if they actually had been). It was also found that forms that were supposed to be filed with the relevant ethics committee were not filed and he drew blood samples at a party ‘without regard’ to the potential pain and suffering of the children and paying the children $5 afterwards. In other words, because of administrative errors and supposed professional misconduct and ethical breaches at the party. This latter bit is particularly amusing in that the children’s parents were present and consented, but the GMC sees absolutely no problem in offering children iPods or other ‘incentives’ to minor children to have Guardisil vaccines in school without even informing parents, let alone gaining the legally required consent. Enough on Wakefield. The question here is consistency in application of ethical standards.

    http://www.gmc-uk.org/Wakefield_SPM_and_SANCTION.pdf_32595267.pdf

    CBS conducted an investigation into conflicts of interest in the field of vaccines. They found several interesting facts. Just Google CBS and How Independent Are Vaccine Defenders? to view the main source. They found, among other things:

    “…some of the most trusted voices in the defense of vaccine safety: the American Academy of Pediatrics, Every Child By Two, and pediatrician Dr. Paul Offit.

    But CBS News has found these three have something more in common – strong financial ties to the industry whose products they promote and defend.”

    Here’s a few facts that CBS did not report (Keep in mind that the ‘sister site’ to this one is ECBT): Paul Offit sits on the board of ECBT and Amy Pisani, a frequent contributor on this site is the Executive Director of ECBT, and ECBT board member Errol Alden is the Executive Director of the American Academy of Pediatrics. All very cosy really… And ALL on the payroll of the vaccine industry. These funding facts, however, do not mean a conflict of interest for them, only for Wakefield they claim.

    So what about Offit in particular? How did he respond to the CBS report on his conflicts of interests? In the Orange County Register, Offit responded on August 4, 2008. He attacked the reporter and made MANY false claims. The original article is no longer online, but the RETRACTION is. Here’s the gist of it:

    “Unsubstantiated statements include: Offit’s claim that Attkisson “lied”; and Offit’s claim that CBS News sent a “mean spirited and vituperative” email “over the signature of Sharyl Attkisson” stating “You’re clearly hiding something.” In fact, the OC Register has no evidence to support those claims. Further, Offit told the OC Register that he provided CBS News “the details of his relationship, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s relationship, with pharmaceutical company Merck.” However, documents provided by CBS News indicate Offit did not disclose his financial relationships with Merck, including a $1.5 million Hilleman chair he sits in that is co-sponsored by Merck. According to the CBS News’ documentation recently reviewed by the OC Register, the network requested (but Offit did not disclose) the entire profile of his professional financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies including: The amount of compensation he’d received from which companies in speaking fees; and pharmaceutical consulting relationships and fees. The CBS News documentation indicates Offit also did not disclose his share of past and future royalties for the Merck vaccine he co-invented.”

    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/correction-296910-dated-entitled.html

    So, for the independent reader, who is to be trusted here? Remember that the people who are praising Offit are either directly supported by the vaccine industry or are supported by people and organizations which are directly supported by the vaccine industry to the tune of HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. It really should come as no surprise that, given the incestuous nature of the pro-vax camp, they all circle the wagons to protect themselves and their views and pat each other on the back and completely ignore their own conflicts of interests.

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  15. Kelly
    July 11, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Wow Steve. I support Offit and I receive no compensation from the vaccine industry or this site. I evaluated the evidence and found that the evidence supports vaccination. All of Offit’s claims are backed by science.

    Sadly, the anti-vaccine side only has misinformation, misconception and logical fallacies. Take MV and Rick, neither knows what vaccines are. MV actually tries the support his/her position that the body cannot handle too many antigens at once with a paper that shows the opposite. I’ve seen you fail on so many concepts from not knowing the difference between bacterial and viruses, thinking water is toxic and not understanding that PubMed is an indexing service. You love to call me names instead of supporting your claims with evidence or you try to change the topic. When challenged recently, you said that getting your information right on vaccines wasn’t a priority in your life. That told me a lot about the validity of your position. Why should I give your position the thoughtful consideration when you don’t?

    I’ve been really looking for some kind of sound reasoning to the anti-vaccine side, but the fact of the matter is that there are not two sides. Not even close. There is the science that supports vaccination and the crazy conspiracy theories, emotional appeals, scientific illiteracy, and logical fallacies that support not vaccinating. When it comes to the health of my children, I want to make an informed decision. I’m gratefully to Dr. Offit and all the work he does to explain the falsehoods of the anti-vaccine movement.

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  16. Steve Michaels
    July 11, 2011 at 10:40 am

    As I said Kelly, I am not debating. My points are made and cited. It is for the independent reader to weigh the evidence. Thank you for proving that my prefacing statement was required. You flatter yourself when I refer to specific sites/organizations/people and you assume I am speaking of you. It’s rather humorous really.

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  17. Kelly
    July 11, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Steve, you didn’t refer to specific sites/organizations/people in your post. You said “the people praising Offit”. Well, I am one of the people praising Offit repeatedly in this thread. The man is awesome!

    So excuse me, for thinking I’m one of the people praising Offit when I’m one of the people praising Offit. How silly of me! (For the independent reader, this about par for Steve’s level of debate. He posts these totally irrelevant posts, contradicts himself, and fails to address the point that shows he is completely ignorant about vaccines. For example he says that he has made points supported by evidence, but he is not debating. Nevermind that he hasn’t actually made any points, but posted a totally irrelevant rant on Internet debates, which ironically he violates himself repeatedly and in his second post brings up Wakefield and CBS newsreporter who has anti-vax bias. The only point that does apply, that people praising Offit are pharma shill (a type of ad hominum, BTW – don’t trust these people because they are pharma shill), he denies when I tell him I’m not pharma shill and still praise Offit.)

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  18. Steve Michaels
    July 11, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    For clarification, which was implied although not explicitly stated, the people referred to are the American Academy of Pediatrics, ECBT and Shot of Prevention meaning Christine. I guess by Kelly’s view, CBS and the Orange County Register are both anti-vaccine, an assertion without any substantiation. Again, I am not coming out to play your silly game Kelly. I refer back to my original post, currently number 13, and would ask independent readers to review that post and Kelly’s attempts at replying. Thank you again Kelly. I could not have made the point as eloquently about the relevance of that first post without your unintended help. So far you have executed the very strategies of misinformation that I had chosen to highlight. And all without a word about the incestuous relationship between these groups and Offit as well them all being financial beneficiaries of the industry about which they are supposed to be independently opining.

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  19. Chris
    July 11, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    , CBS and the Orange County Register are both anti-vaccine,

    No, they are news organizations with articles written by journalists, many with no training in science. Ms. Attkisson seems to have a shaky relationship with science, but is cozy with Age of Autism (to the point of sharing correspondence with them). Age of Autism and Generation Rescue are more anti-vaccine organizations than an advocacy group for children with autism. If they were an autism group they would not even bother with vaccines that are given past puberty, and not try to get people fired from their jobs.

    The interesting thing is that one of the main instigators of both incidents has a child who not vaccinated, but still has autism. She has so much energy and guts, yet her actions are not helping, but actually hindering advocacy for kids with disabilities (oh, by the way, I have also had a disabled child harassed on the little bus, plus once he was forgotten and ended up at the bus barn… fortunately it turned out okay). It is a pity she was sucked into the poisonous world of Age of Autism.

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  20. Kelly
    July 12, 2011 at 1:12 am

    So Steve your point, that you emphasis you are not debating yet find fault in me for not debating, is that everything said by Offit, ECBT, AAP and this blog should be descredited because these people are all Pharma shill that are paid to support each other. Am I understanding you correctly? What about the science that supports their opinions, Steve? Does that not count because you don’t understand science? How much easier is it for you to dismiss everything these people say as conspiracy theory and conflict of interest than address the science, eh Steve?

    Perhaps you should read that bit in your preamble about ad hominem and projecting again Steve. I think the relevance of your first post would have been more eloquently made if you didn’t have your foot in your mouth, Steve.

    Also, it is not my view that CBS is anti-vaccine or Orange County Register is anti-vaccine. Nice strawman there Steve. I actually said that Sheryl Attkisson is anti-vaccine. This claim is nicely supported by Chris below. Thanks Chris! I didn’t support the claim previously because you said you weren’t debating and if you can make unsupported claims why can’t I? Difference with my claims and yours, Steve, is I can actually support mine, if asked. Other people have also supplied info to support my claims. I’m still waiting for you to provide evidence for anything you have said in previous threads.

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  21. ChrisKid
    July 12, 2011 at 3:39 am

    Kelly, don’t forget his completely erroneous claim that Andrew Wakefield lost his license to practice for undisclosed conflicts of interest and simple failure to follow proper protocol (forms that were not filled out and filed with the ethics committee), when the actual reason for the action against him was his unethical treatment of the children in his case study, having invasive procedures performed on them, not for any clinical necessity related to their illness but only to further his research.
    Steve, I understand your desire to downplay the facts there, and your attempt to minimize the unconscionable behavior of a man you admire, but it simply isn’t true. Any more than talking about Dr. Offit’s future royalties from the vaccine he helped develop, when you know as well as anyone else that he no longer holds any rights to that vaccine. Nor did you mention that the income from his last two books has been donated toward autism research. And I’m very sorry that you simply do not understand how the endowment of university chairs works, but you probably should stop letting college kids explain that to you.

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  22. Steve Michaels
    July 12, 2011 at 6:05 am

    Thank you for at least addressing a point and not simply using innuendo or straw man arguments. As far as the invasive procedure issue, it actually highlights the fact that this was all a bit of a witch hunt to discredit Wakefield. Please allow me to quote directly from the GMC report and see if you can spot the contradiction:

    “In September 1996 Dr Wakefield made an application to the Ethical Practices
    Sub-Committee of the Royal Free Hospital (Ethics Committee) seeking
    approval for a research project involving 25 children.”

    and

    “With regard to nine of the eleven children (2,1, 3, 4, 6, 9, 5,12 and 8)
    considered by the Panel, it determined that Dr Wakefield caused research to
    be undertaken on them without Ethics Committee approval and thus without
    the ethical constraints that safeguard research.”

    and

    “It was in the
    context of this research project that the Panel found that Dr Wakefield caused
    three of these young and vulnerable children, (nos. 3, 9 and 12) to undergo
    the invasive procedure of lumbar puncture when such investigation was for
    research purposes and was not clinically indicated.”

    So which is it then? Did he have ethics approval to conduct research or not? Did his research approval only cover clinically indicated treatment? If treatment were already approved as clinically indicated, would that be considered research and why would ethics approval be required? By spacing out these inconsistencies in the GMC findings, it makes it less obvious that the GMC is claiming contradictory breaches by Wakefield. He cannot have been conducting research with approval but been prohibited from conducting research, but that is the GMC claim. He cannot have conducted his research without ethics approval yet have ethics approval. The report states that Wakefield claimed that any cross over ethics issues were covered under a separate approval but the report fails to mention what this other approval may have covered or who had issued it, neither do they state unequivocally that this other approval did not exist. They simply state that they ‘rejected the claim’.

    I would suggest that instead of depending solely on Brian Deer inspired media reports of the GMC findings, that you actually read the report. It is hardly a shining example of clear and concise stating of facts and representations followed by logical conclusions.

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  23. Steve Michaels
    July 12, 2011 at 6:18 am

    ChrisKid :

    Steve, I understand your desire to downplay the facts there, and your attempt to minimize the unconscionable behavior of a man you admire, but it simply isn’t true.

    I note firstly your use of the word ‘unconscionable’ as it is merely an inflammatory adjective designed to evoke emotional instead of rational response. Wakefield believed he had approval for research and the GMC admitted that he had ethics approval, but only for clinically indicated procedures. This makes no sense. But the main point is that this particular portion of your comment is EXACTLY my point. Everyone seems keen to praise Offit without any regard for the facts presented that he failed to disclose his interests when asked and lied to the public and made a false statement of refutation, including false accusations against CBS. And let us not forget, Offit’s profits from pharma are not limited to royalties. That is a nice diversion. He holds a chair funded by Merck and he is paid for public appearances by the pharma industry. As I stated in my previous comment, “Enough on Wakefield. The question here is consistency in application of ethical standards.” You have kindly demonstrated indirectly that you do not believe in consistency in the application of ethical standards. Thank you.

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  24. Nathan
    July 12, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Steve, this is classic! You make a lengthy preface about how some (unnamed) commenter uses 1.) ad hominem, 2.) projecting, and 3.) bullying. Yet your entire first comment is projecting, as I have seen you use those techniques with regularity (citations available upon request), and your second comment about Offit is entirely an ad hominem! I appreciate that you have not bullied anyone in this thread, but I would also throw in number 14 from your link, “Diversion” since Wakefield has nothing to do with this discussion.

    That was really nice use of ironic technique there.

    As per my usual, I will point out the errors and misinterperetations on your part, which, as per your usual, are numerous.

    He attacked the reporter and made MANY false claims. The original article is no longer online, but the RETRACTION is. Here’s the gist of it:

    “Unsubstantiated statements include: Offit’s claim that Attkisson “lied”; and Offit’s claim that CBS News sent a “mean spirited and vituperative” email “over the signature of Sharyl Attkisson” stating “You’re clearly hiding something.” In fact, the OC Register has no evidence to support those claims.

    Steve, unsubstantiated claims do not mean “false claims.” It’s unfortunate that we can’t review the original article, but I’m sure that Dr. Offit is quite honest about believing that Atkisson lied, and that he received such an email. If the OC Register chose to retract those parts of the article because they don’t actually have a copy of the email themselves, that is their prerogative. It seems a strange thing for a newspaper to do, since people claim those kinds of things all the time and the newspaper does not generally need proof to print it, because it is the person who made the claims, not the paper.

    My guess is that they are concerned about the lawsuit happy nature of antivaccine activists, like Attkisson. Barbara Loe Fisher tried to sue Offit AND the article’s author when Offit said that BLF lied in Wired. It was dismissed in court.

    I don’t see how you construe this as a reason for “independent minded readers” to have Offit “villified.”

    Further, Offit told the OC Register that he provided CBS News “the details of his relationship, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s relationship, with pharmaceutical company Merck. However, documents provided by CBS News indicate Offit did not disclose his financial relationships with Merck, including a $1.5 million Hilleman chair he sits in that is co-sponsored by Merck. ”

    So, this is interesting to me. They claim that Offit did not reveal some connections to NBC betweein CHOP and Merck, particularly that Merck partially sponsored an endowed chair for research. Yet it is NBC documents that indicated to the OCR that the chair exists.

    Well, if Offit did not mention it, it does not exactly take an investigative reporter to figure it out, as it is public knowledge. There are press releases from its endowment in 2005. Criticize Offit for not mentioning it in that particular interview, but an endowment for research 6 years ago is a rather minor COI than the COIs that Offit has disclosed. Again, villification? Because he didn’t say in that interview that his hospital, like most, has a reseach endowment that is partially industry funded?

    I will make my statement, support my claims and let independent minded readers decide whether Offitt should be praised or vilified… So, for the independent reader, who is to be trusted here?

    So, there you go. 100% pure Grade A ad hominem argument. Offit is to be “vilified” because a local newspaper retracted part of their article and also, he has in the past earned money from pharmaceutical companies (which is well known, but not mentioned in one particular interview). Not because anything he says is inaccurate (it’s accurate), not because the facts aren’t on his side (they are), not because he doesn’t have the expertise (he does), but because he made a lot of money in his medical career.

    Offit not only has saved thousands of lives, but now works tirelessy, without pharmaceutical compensation, to combat misinformation like the kind you provide, Steve. You can try to downplay that and up-play every piddly newspaper article you find, but your arguments lack substance and science.

    Like

  25. Steve Michaels
    July 12, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Nathan, I agree that it is unusual for a newspaper to print a retraction as it did with Offit. It tells me that ‘unsubstantiated’ statement was in fact an understatement but the paper was not willing to disclose more. As far as the lawsuit being dismissed, the argument was whether Offit’s comments were protected ‘free speech’ or not. It was not dismissed due to lack of merit but rather a technical interpretation of the circumstances of the comments being made.

    I made no attacks on anyone. I simply pre-empted what I thought would happen. The fact that it happened as I predicted does not constitute an ad hominem attack. Your claim that I have actually falls into the category of “projection/flipping” which, again, I foresaw. The people who choose to follow these methodologies after seeing that they had been foreseen cannot claim to have been attacked. They simply chose to follow their own modus operandi and revealed themselves by their own behavior.

    And finally, defending Wakefield was never my intent. It only stands to reason that since the very establishment which has vilified Wakefield are choosing to treat Offit with an almost God-like level of praise, that a comparison of ethics between these two individuals is appropriate. The whole point, which has been reinforced by the comments made, is that there is a vast hypocracy. I don’t believe either of these men have acted ethically. In fact, I would go as far as to say that both men’s egos are so large that they both believe themselves to be above ethical constraints. The difference I am showing is in how they are treated based on whether they are ‘in’ or ‘out’ of the establishment. That case has been proven. Thank you for helping prove the point, both about the hypocracy and the pro-vax use of MSM type propaganda techniques.

    Like

  26. Nathan
    July 12, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    It tells me that ‘unsubstantiated’ statement was in fact an understatement but the paper was not willing to disclose more.

    So, the independent minded reader is supposed to go with your hunch on this. This is not particularly convincing.

    As far as the lawsuit being dismissed, the argument was whether Offit’s comments were protected ‘free speech’ or not. It was not dismissed due to lack of merit but rather a technical interpretation of the circumstances of the comments being made.

    Agreed. I am submitting, however, that the OC made the retraction because it did not want to get involved in a similar lawsuit, dismissed or otherwise, since the AV side has a tendency to put their lawyers first and think rationally later. It sounds much more than your “It’s really a lot worse but the paper isn’t telling the whole truth” theory.

    I made no attacks on anyone. I simply pre-empted what I thought would happen. The fact that it happened as I predicted does not constitute an ad hominem attack. Your claim that I have actually falls into the category of “projection/flipping” which, again, I foresaw.

    You either did not read what I wrote or you don’t understand what an ad hominem is, or both. I did not say that your initial comment was an ad hominem on anyone here. I said your second comment was an ad hominem on Dr. Offit. I demonstrated that in my response. I am not projecting or flipping anything back on you. Your foresight is failing you.

    And finally, defending Wakefield was never my intent.

    Yet you led with him and continued on with him for a full third of your “actual comment.” Funny.

    It only stands to reason that since the very establishment which has vilified Wakefield are choosing to treat Offit with an almost God-like level of praise, that a comparison of ethics between these two individuals is appropriate.

    No, it is not. What someone chooses to disclose to a newspaper reporter is not at all comparable to what must be disclosed when experimenting on children. No contest.

    The difference I am showing is in how they are treated based on whether they are ‘in’ or ‘out’ of the establishment. That case has been proven.

    Not nearly. Again, the points you bring up trying to villify Offit pale in comparison to what Wakefield did to children, his attempt to develop fear of the MMR vaccine for his personal profit, his ethical breaches, and his fraud. When Offit advocates for vaccines, he has no financial incentive to do so. When Wakefield advocated against the MMR, he darn well did, and still does.

    Thank you for helping prove the point, both about the hypocracy and the pro-vax use of MSM type propaganda techniques.

    Seriously, this is bordering on comical, Steve. Stating “See, you proved my point about how you argue” every time that someone makes an argument does not mean that you are right. I certainly have not used ad hominem, bullying, or projecting on you, and each responder here has addressed your points. Not being polite about it does not constitute ad hominem, bullying, or projecting.

    Like

  27. Steve Michaels
    July 12, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    First you say, “So, the independent minded reader is supposed to go with your hunch on this. This is not particularly convincing.” and most unconvincingly follow that up with this: “Agreed. I am submitting, however, that the OC made the retraction because it did not want to get involved in a similar lawsuit, dismissed or otherwise, since the AV side has a tendency to put their lawyers first and think rationally later.” Interesting how you have just called the Orange County Register an anti-vax newspaper. I think most will see where the comedy is in this conversation. It truly is humorous that when a pro-vax reviews ANYTHING that challenges their views, it must be an anti-vax source. I recall a certain exchange with you and Kelly about bio-accumulation of aluminium and I quoted a study that was completely independent of vaccine debate. It was a pure study of points of entry and bio-accumulation and how points of entry affect accumulation and excretion rates of aluminium. You and (particularly) Kelly called it an anti-vax study and therefore not to be trusted. This is classic point 2.Character Assasination/Ad Hominem. And I quote:

    “…ad hominem attacks not just against individuals, but entire categories of people in an effort to discredit the ideas of every person who is seen to fall into that category, e.g. “liberals,” “hippies,” “progressives” etc. This form of argument – if it can be called that – leaves no room for genuine debate over ideas, so by definition, it is undemocratic. Not to mention just plain crass.”

    You will deny it, but this is EXACTLY what you have done with OC and with my previous aluminium study. Call it “anti-vax” and assume that this means that it has no value and ignore it without further discussion.

    Incidentally, I only used the Wakefield intro to set the stage for the comparison. As I have pointed out that there are ethical issues with Wakefield and compared them with Offit, you have again chosen to ignore the very essence of ethics. It is not about circumstance, it is about integrity. Both lack it, but you persist in trying to place levels on it. It is wrong to murder, it is wrong to rape. Is a rapist more ethical than a murderer? I would say no, but you seem to say yes. Baffling and illogical unless you see your protecting your own position as more important than honestly assessing the facts. And all of this is without regard to Offit and his conflicts of interest when voting on vaccine issues as a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices while receiving undisclosed direct and indirect compensation from the vaccine industry.

    Thank you again for demonstrating the accuracy of my prefatory comment. You may dismiss it as comedy as much as you like, but when you do, you are actually proving my point again.

    Like

  28. Nathan
    July 12, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Steve. Please. Read what I write a little more carefully. I did not say or imply that I thought the OC Register was antivaccine. Indeed, if it ran a piece where Offit defended himelf, it is not likely to be antivaccine.

    I said that the AV side, by which I mean antivaccine activists like Barbara Loe Fisher, have a tendency to jump to lawsuits, and that the OC Register might have made the retraction because they did not want to be the target of a lawsuit similar to what happened with Wired. “AV side” did not refer to the OCR, it referred to people like BLF.

    I recall a certain exchange with you and Kelly about bio-accumulation of aluminium and I quoted a study that was completely independent of vaccine debate. It was a pure study of points of entry and bio-accumulation and how points of entry affect accumulation and excretion rates of aluminium. You and (particularly) Kelly called it an anti-vax study and therefore not to be trusted.

    I remember it too. Here it is.
    https://shotofprevention.com/2011/04/29/moms-who-vaccinate-and-those-who-wish-they-had/#comment-3767
    Gary responded there, and I responded a little ways down:
    https://shotofprevention.com/2011/04/29/moms-who-vaccinate-and-those-who-wish-they-had/#comment-3776

    Nowhere do either of us call or imply that the article is “anti-vax,” or call the author antivaccine, or anything of the sort. In fact, all we do is analyze the content of the paper. And I can’t find Kelly commenting on it anywhere in that entire thread.

    Why do you make this stuff up? It’s so easy to disprove.

    it is about integrity. Both lack it, but you persist in trying to place levels on it. It is wrong to murder, it is wrong to rape. Is a rapist more ethical than a murderer? I would say no, but you seem to say yes.

    Not at all. I would, however, consider a jaywalker more ethical than a murderer. The worst things you are throwing at Offit is that he said someone lied and didn’t tell an antivaccine reporter about a contribution to an endowed chair some years ago. Wakefield, on the other hand, subjected children to unindicated invasive procedures and committed research fraud for personal gain.

    How on earth you can compare this to the difference between rapists and murderers is beyond me.

    Thank you again for demonstrating the accuracy of my prefatory comment. You may dismiss it as comedy as much as you like, but when you do, you are actually proving my point again.

    Um, okay, if you say so. I guess we can leave it up to those independent minded readers to decide that.

    I’m curious though. You seem to be saying that you do think that Wakefield did in fact act unethically, and without integrity. If so, how, exactly?

    Like

  29. Steve Michaels
    July 13, 2011 at 5:45 am

    Firstly, I also looked and could not find the comment. That may well be because I have cited that study on other postings and that particular conversation occurred elsewhere.

    If I misunderstood your AV reference I apologize, however, having search for all of the lawsuits filed by Barbara Loe Fisher, I could find only one: the Offit suit which we have already discussed. That hardly qualifies for the (I believe purposely misleading) disparaging remark, “I said that the AV side, by which I mean antivaccine activists like Barbara Loe Fisher, have a tendency to jump to lawsuits…” Again, this sort of commentary was foretold in my prefacing comment. Thank you again for reinforcing the need to expose this tactic in advance.

    As far as the “worst thing” I can throw at Offit and it’s ethical context, Wakefield conducted his unethhical research on 3 children. Offit portrays himself as a scientist/doctor with an unbiased view while acquiring substantial wealth from the industry about which he is supposed to be unbiased and lying and obfuscating about the payments he has, and continues to, receive which constitute conflicts of interests. His views, being portrayed as independent when he is not, affect the decisions of millions of parents. So, murderer or rapist?

    I believe that Wakefield acted unethically in his conduct of the spinal testing. He claimed that he believed he had ethics approval, but also lied about it, indicating that he was aware that it was not covered by his approval but tried to rationalize it after the fact. On the other hand, he did have the consent of the parents, which is more than the vaccine industry requires when offering bribes through quango’s to children under the age of consent to receive vaccines without informing parents.

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