Paul Offit Teaches Online Course Selling Vaccines to the Public?

Dr. Paul Offit is the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and author of such fear-mongering titles as Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All and Killing Us Softly: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine. Next month, the good professor is also going to be teaching a 4-5 week free course at the University of Pennsylvania. The course description is illuminating:

This course will discuss issues regarding vaccines and vaccine safety. Specifically, 1) the history of vaccines, focusing on different strategies used during the past two centuries to make them, 2) the science of vaccines, focusing on methods of attenuation of various viruses and bacteria, 3) the benefits of vaccines, focusing on the impact of vaccines on health both in the United States and abroad, 4) the risks of vaccines, both real and perceived, 5) the controversies surrounding vaccines, specifically that vaccines cause autism, multiple sclerosis, neurodevelopmental delays, diabetes or other chronic problems, and 6) answers to common questions that parents have about vaccines, such as the fear that too many vaccines given too soon weaken, overwhelm, or perturb the immune system or that vaccines contain harmful additives or manufacturing residuals.

As his bio states, Dr. Offit has “made it his life’s work to educate both the medical profession and the lay public on the value of vaccinations and the terrible human cost of bad science” – bad science, in Dr. Offit’s view, being anything that leads people to question the safety of vaccines. This is not, perhaps, entirely surprising since Dr. Offit is also the co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine RotaTeq, a vaccine that is conveniently recommended “for universal use in infants” by the CDC.

Given these facts, we at the VaccineXchange are highly doubtful that Dr. Offit will lay much emphasis on the real risks of vaccines – indeed, the entire course description seems designed to market vaccines to whoever is gullible enough to enroll. Will Dr. Offit really discuss the ways in which vaccines are studied for safety and efficacy, with efficacy judged only according to the degree to which vaccinated subjects produce serum antibodies, not the degree to which the vaccine protects the subjects from the disease? As has become clear in recent years, vaccination is not immunization, and breakthrough infections in highly vaccinated populations occur on a regular basis.

Will Dr. Offit also examine the use of aluminum adjuvants as placebos administered to the control groups during vaccine trials? We at the Vaccine Xchange would assume that most students would be interested to learn this because, like us, they might have assumed that the control group would receive an inert placebo like saline. An inert placebo would allow for a more accurate comparison between the placebo and the control group, especially since, as Dr. Offit much know, aluminum has been known for at least 90 years to be a potent neuro and immune toxin which biodistributes to the brain where it can cause damage to cells for many years.

Dr. Offit has repeatedly asserted that the use of aluminum adjuvants in vaccines is safe, and his belief in the transparency of clinical trials is such that to date, we still do not know what was contained in the placebo used in the trial of his rotavirus vaccine – it is one of the best kept secrets in science, not even mentioned in the vaccine package insert. As such, it seems likely that he will teach his students that aluminum adjuvented placebos must be used as controls to determine the effect of the pathogen, measuring the vaccine against a control that contains everything but the pathogen. However, this is not an entirely honest argument. The aluminum is added to stimulate the immune response, allowing the weakened pathogen that the body would otherwise consider to be harmless to be recognized by the immune system. Therefore, there is good reason to pair these two ingredients when studying the way in which the immune system reacts to an attenuated virus. Using an aluminum containing placebo simply provides a convenient smokescreen for hiding background levels of adverse reactions.

Considering that 18 of the doses of vaccines given to children contain aluminum adjuvants, that background level of adverse reactions is being hidden 18 times. We cannot know if that number represents a multiple of hidden adverse reactions or is exponential due to unknown synergies with other vaccines that are administered at the same time. The Institute of Medicine might have a thing or two to teach Dr. Offit about how vaccines have escaped a truly rigorous examination of safety and efficacy, which he may want to brush up on before he teaches this course, as it seems likely that he would otherwise leave out some very significant information, conveniently for him and other vaccine manufacturers.

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