To address many of the concerns that people have about vaccines and their safety, ECBT posed some frequently-asked questions to several experts in the fields of immunization and autism and put their replies to the questions in a video format. Click on the videos below to view experts answers to parents’ most common questions.
Paul A. Offit, MD
Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases & Director, Vaccine Education Center
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Dr. Paul Offit is Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In addition, Dr. Offit is the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
He is a recipient of many awards including the J. Edmund Bradley Prize for Excellence in Pediatrics from the University of Maryland Medical School, the Young Investigator Award in Vaccine Development from the Infectious Disease Society of America, and a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Offit has published more than 130 papers in medical and scientific journals in the areas of rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety. He is also the co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq, recommended for universal use in infants by the CDC; for this achievement, Dr. Offit received the Gold Medal from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the Jonas Salk Medal from the Association for Infection Control and Epidemiology, the Luigi Mastroianni Clinical Innovator and the William Osler Patient Oriented Research Awards from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the Charles Mérieux Award for Achievement in Vaccinology and Immunology from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. In 2009, Dr. Offit received the President’s Certificate for Outstanding Service from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Offit was a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a founding advisory board member of the Autism Science Foundation, and is the author of five books: Vaccines: What You Should Know (Wiley, 2003, 3rd Edition), Breaking the Antibiotic Habit (Wiley, 1999), The Cutter Incident: How America’s First Polio Vaccine Led to Today’s Growing Vaccine Crisis (Yale University Press, 2005), Vaccinated: One Man’s Quest to Defeat the World’s Deadliest Diseases (HarperCollins, 2007), and Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure (Columbia University Press, 2008).
Mark Sawyer, MD
Professor, Clinical Pediatrics & Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist
UCSD School of Medicine & Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego
Dr. Mark Sawyer is a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and a Pediatric Infectious Disease specialist at the UCSD School of Medicine and Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego. He is the medical director of the UCSD San Diego Immunization Partnership, a contract with the San Diego County Agency for Health and Human Services to improve immunization delivery in San Diego.
He is the current chair of the California Immunization Committee, an advisory committee to the California State Immunization Branch, and a current member of the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
Dr. Sawyer is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and belongs to numerous professional societies including the Society of Pediatric Research, the Infectious Disease Society of America and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.
Mary Beth Koslap-Petraco DNP, PNP-BC, CPNP
Coordinator, Child Health Suffolk County Department of Health Services, NY (retired)
Mary Beth Koslap-Petraco is the retired Coordinator for Child Health at the Suffolk County Department of Health Services in New York, where she is also a primary care provider. Ms. Koslap-Petraco is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Preceptor for graduate and undergraduate students at the Stony Brook University School of Nursing.
She is a fellow of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP), and is the past chair of NAPNAP’s Special Interest Group on Immunizations. Ms. Koslap-Petraco is also a member of the advisory board of the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) and served on the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She continues to be a consultant for the CDC.
Ms. Koslap-Petraco is also a member of the Advisory Board of Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases (PKIDS) and is the PKIDS online Advice Nurse. Additionally, she served on the NYSDOH Upper Respiratory Infection Project.
Ms. Koslap-Petraco is the recipient of numerous awards and honors for her work. She is widely published, speaks nationally in the area of immunizations, and has authored chapters on immunizations in two textbooks. She received her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Stony Brook University where she also received an MS in child health and pediatric nursing. Ms. Koslap-Petraco received a BSN from Excelsior College (formerly known as Regents College) in Albany, New York, and earned a diploma from the Bellevue School of Nursing in New York City.
Co-Founder & President Autism Science Foundation
Alison Singer is Co-Founder and President of the Autism Science Foundation (ASF), a not-for-profit organization launched in April 2009 to support autism research. From 2005-2009, she served as Executive Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors at Autism Speaks.
The Autism Science Foundation supports autism research by providing funding and other assistance to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research. Founded by parents of children with autism, ASF also provides information about autism to the general public and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism. The organization adheres to rigorous scientific standards and values.
As the mother of a child with autism and legal guardian of her adult brother with autism, she is a natural advocate. In 2007, Ms. Singer was appointed by Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt to serve as one of six public members of the Federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) which is charged with writing a strategic plan to guide federal spending for autism research. Within the IACC, she serves on the services subcommittee and on the subcommittee for strategic plan review.
Ms. Singer also currently serves on the Executive Board of the Yale Child Study Center Associates Committee, on the external advisory board of the Autism Baby Siblings Research Consortium, on the external advisory board of the CDC’s Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, on the board of directors of Mental Health News, as a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ New York State Immunization Coalition, and as a member of the program committee for the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR).