I don’t know if Dr. Paul Offit (author and doctor in Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) counts as famous, but for many in the pro-vaccine world, he certainly appears to be so. What might surprise his fans is that he is as kind and generous as he is intelligent.
A few years ago, I was attending an Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meeting at the CDC. These are free and open to the public, so definitely register to go if you are ever in town. The meetings are attended by scores of smart, amazing, intimidating people–the sort of people who can say things like, “When I was working on eradicating smallpox blah blah blah.”
In attendance at this meeting were a group of high school students. Someone mentioned to Dr. Offit that they had read one of his books for class, and the moment he was able, he walked over to them to talk to them. And they spoke at length. This conversation was just one example of the kind of generosity Dr. Offit displays on a regular basis.
When I took the helm at Voices for Vaccines, one of the things I was most passionate about was creating a space where pro-vaccine parents could have access to conversations like those the high school students had with Dr. Offit. I can’t fly everyone out to ACIP a few times a year, but I can host a podcast where listener questions are answered by Dr. Offit. So that’s what we did with our latest episode.