Home > Expert Insights, General Info, Science & Research, Vaccine Myths, vaccine safety > The Summer Beach Read You’ve Been Missing: Dr. Offit’s latest book, “Bad Advice”

The Summer Beach Read You’ve Been Missing: Dr. Offit’s latest book, “Bad Advice”

By: Erica DeWald, Director, Advocacy Every Child By Two

Looking for your final summer beach read but tired of the same old thrillers, political exposés and romance novels?  Look no further than the latest offering from Dr. Paul Offit, Bad Advice: Or Why Celebrities, Politicians, and Activists Aren’t Your Best Source of Health Information.

 

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photo by Nicholas Pisani

You may be asking yourself, “Nonfiction? About health advice? I just want something fun and entertaining.” Think of Dr. Offit as that one teacher who always made learning fun. In fact, he’s been described by some as the Neil deGrasse Tyson of medicine. Offit’s quick wit will keep you laughing as he also manages to break down complex scientific and medical concepts.

Throughout the book, Dr. Offit takes us on his personal journey as he transitioned from a guy in a lab, trying to create a vaccine that could eventually save over 200,000 lives a year, to one of the world’s most renown speakers on vaccines. He has done so while facing some of the toughest interviewers and government panels. His secret to success? Trial and error. Not every speech he’s given has been a rousing success, nor has he always managed to convince his audience that the science is right. He has gathered these anecdotes into a series of lessons so others can learn from his mistakes.

His topic is particularly timely given the current conversation around what constitutes “fake news” and who we should view as experts. Social media has given celebrities outsized platforms beyond the usual movie or album release. While many of these individuals are well-meaning, they often base their opinions on the same unsubstantiated information you or I read online.

Which brings us to the topic of activists. In today’s interconnected world, it’s much easier to find individuals who are passionate about the same causes as you, whether it’s vaccines, GMOs, or plastic straws. Individual activists can quickly become seen as leaders, but does that make them experts? Too often their expertise is based on research they’ve conducted online or they are even influenced by monetary interests. Dr. Offit reminds us to always consider what an activist’s motivations may be, and whether they truly rank among the experts in their fields.

In all, Bad Advice is a quick read that will give you some faith that, ultimately, science and facts will win the day if we just communicate it in the right way. And it’ll give you hope that you can ultimately recover from that really awkward comment you just made.

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Bad Advice is currently for sale on Amazon.com and at all major book retailers, along with other fascinating books by Dr. Offit.

If you buy the book at Amazon Smile, please consider selecting Every Child By Two as your charity of choice.  This will ensure that 0.5% of the purchase price of all your purchases will be given to support our ongoing efforts to educate the public about the life-saving value of vaccines.

 

 

  1. July 27, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    It’s a really fun book. I wish some of his haters would read it with an open mind. They could learn much.

    Like

  2. Martha
    July 29, 2018 at 7:04 am

    I would say this man has a conflict of interest. Thank you for the book BAD ADVICE, because the worst advice usually comes from someone who will profit from believing them. It’s the perfect title, because this is BAD ADVICE!!! Dr Paul Offit has made whole a lot of money from the RSV vaccine. He is not gonna tell you about all the problems associated with this vaccine. I’ll take the advice from a non biased source thank you!

    Like

  3. July 30, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    A. There is no RSV vaccine.
    B. The fact that Dr. Offit was paid in the part for the rotavirus vaccine – a vaccine he worked 26 years on – is not a current conflict of interest. And if you read the book, it addresses it.
    C. I recommend reading the book. You could learn much from it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. everychildbytwo
    July 30, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Unfortunately, there is not yet a vaccine to protect infants against RSV, a respiratory illness that is particularly dangerous for children under 6 months of age. Dr. Offit was a co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine. As noted in our blog post https://www.cdc.gov/rotavirus/surveillance.html , rotavirus vaccine can save over 200,000 lives around the world each year. For an overview of the vaccine’s safety https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/vaccines/rotavirus-vaccine.html – and how its safety continues to be monitored – please visit the CDC’s page dedicated to rotavirus vaccine safety.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Chris
    July 30, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    Martha, why do you object to someone being paid for over twenty years of hard work? Do you think doctors and scientists work for free?

    Seriously, read the book. You might learn something, especially on how devastating rotavirus is to a small child. I know since rotavirus required an ambulance trip to the emergency department. Just an FYI: ambulance rides to the hospital are not fun, especially with a very sick unconscious toddler.

    Read the book, the asides are very humorous.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kirk
    August 1, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    Paul Offit is not a nice guy. I do not trust him.

    Like

  7. August 1, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    My experience is very different. And if you read the book, you may have a different perspective.

    Like

  8. Chris
    August 1, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    Kirk: “I do not trust him.”

    Out of curiosity, who do you trust and why?

    Like

  9. Amy Pisani
    August 2, 2018 at 7:37 am

    Dr. Offit is actually one of the kindest people I have ever met. Seeing him work at the hospital where he treats gravely ill children, while soothing parents fears has left an indelible impression on both me and my son, who has been so inspired that he has set his sights on seeking a degree in pediatric medicine. If only I could go back in time and study medicine, I would strive to be as caring and smart as Paul Offit.

    Like

  10. Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
    August 2, 2018 at 9:46 am

    @ Martha

    Paul Offit chose Pediatrics. Becoming a pediatrician takes the same amount of time and effort in medical school, involved a residency of over 100 hours per week for several years; yet, Pediatricians, who are the true practitioners of preventive medicine, on average are the lowest paid doctors. Dr. Offit invested over 20 years developing the rotavirus vaccine, that may not have ended in success; but thank goodness it did as it prevents 10s of thousands of hospitalizations and up to 30 deaths per year in the US, and saves literally 100s of thousands of lives in Third World nations. Dr. Offit did not sell the patent, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia did and it is the policy of such institutions to share the funds received with the researchers. All in all, if one averages over more than 20 years what Dr. Offit received as his share, add it to the average pediatricians salary, and he then would have the average salary of many of the other specialities. So, if money were his goal, why didn’t he choose one of the far more lucrative specialties? And the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia had no choice but to sell the patent as they did not have the resources to run a large clinical trial, only a major Pharmaceutical company would have such resources. I guess they could have just given it away; but then, as a non-profit, they provide education, free care, and training, so the monies received were put to good use.

    Judah Folkman, another pediatrician, tried for years to persuade the medical profession that angiogenesis, growing of additional blood vessels, was an essential ingredient in cancer. Once cancer cells reach a certain size, the internal cells in the tumor would die as they could neither get rid of waste or get nutrients through cell diffusion. Additional blood vessels are necessary. He finally did with research convince them and angiogenesis inhibitors now are part of our armamentarium against cancer. Folkman owned numerous patents. Hopefully, you and your loved ones will never experience cancer; but if you do, I suggest you reject angiogenesis inhibitors because Folkman made a fortune.

    Everything is sold for a profit in the US, and those who developed them often make out quite handsomely. So what is the logic in saying those who develop vaccines and profit by them should be held to a different standard? My mother died of cancer. The drugs were expensive. Should we demand that researchers on new cancer drugs donate their findings? Martha, do you know anyone with Type 1 Diabetes? Tell them to stop using insulin as the drug companies make a profit on it. Actually, one can protest the exponentially increasing prices of insulin and most other drugs on the market, not related to development costs; but a reasonable profit should be acceptable, otherwise, we won’t have a pharmaceutical industry. I discuss in depth the industry profits and the above in an article I wrote posted on the excellent blog, Science-Based Medicine. You can find my article at: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-so-called-vaccine-debate-false-balance-in-the-san-diego-union-tribune/

    And of the Pharmaceutical Industry global total sales, only 2% involve vaccines. A few companies do make a higher percentage of sales; but it is INSANE to subscribe to some worldwide conspiracy that researchers, doctors, governments, the world over somehow are part of a conspiracy to sell vaccines to benefit one industry, especially given that every doctor and researcher I know and know of made sure their own children and families were vaccinated. I, for one, used to phone my late maternal grandparents and parents when it was time for the flu vaccine to remind them to get it and I really loved all four of them. I certainly did NOT do this so some industry could make a bit more profit. Maybe some antivaccinationists would sell out their loved ones to profit someone, nothing would surprise me and their attacks on those who support vaccines could be interpreted as the psychological defense mechanism of projection, seeing in others traits within ourselves that we don’t accept; but the vast majority of people would not sell out their loved ones and friends!

    As for Kirk’s claim Paul Offit isn’t a nice man and he doesn’t trust him, has Kirk ever seen him with the kids who are Offit’s patients? Has Kirk ever seen him working with students and interns? Just one more foolish comment among many.

    Liked by 1 person

  1. October 6, 2018 at 4:30 am

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