Paul A. Offit, M.D., is a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases, 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. Offit has been a member of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Offit has published more than 130 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 that has been credited with saving hundreds of lives every day.
Offit is also the co-author of several books, notably Breaking the Antibiotic Habit (1999), Vaccines: What You Should Know (2003), The Cutter Incident: How America’s First Polio Vaccine Led to Today’s Growing Vaccine Crisis (2005), Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases (2007), and Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure (2008). As one of the most public faces of the scientific consensus that vaccines have no association with autism, Offit has attracted controversy and a substantial volume of hate mail and occasional death threats.
When Offit was five years old, he was sent to a polio ward to recover from clubfoot surgery; this experience caused him to see children as vulnerable and helpless, and motivated him through the 25 years of the development of the rotavirus vaccine.