March 24, 2019

Teen Testifies to Congress About Anti-Vaccine Mom

08 March 2019, 10:28 | Silvia Roy

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Ethan Lindenberger

Ethan Lindenberger, 18, told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions yesterday about how he sought to vaccinate himself after his mother - reportedly misinformed by social media - didn't get him immunized. Ethan Lindenberger (R), student at Norwalk High School in Norwalk, Ohio, who confided in a now-viral Reddit post that he had not been fully vaccinated due to his mother's belief that vaccines are risky, speaks before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on March 5, 2019.

"Vaccine programs are one of public health's greatest accomplishments", Wiesman told the Senate health committee Tuesday."They are under great threat and we need to reverse course".

Lindenberger's story took off both in the global press and on social media last month after he posted on Reddit, an online forum, asking for advice on what steps he should take to get vaccinated. Ethan Lindenberger, appearing with a panel of doctors, told the committee on March 5 that it's important "to inform people about how to find good information", and to make them realize just how unsafe diseases like measles truly are.

"With the introduction of a safe and effective vaccine for measles in 1963 and improved public health efforts to see that almost every child received it, new cases of measles arising in the United States were entirely eliminated by the year 2000", McCullers said. The Centers for Disease Control has refuted these claims, noting that there is "no link between receiving vaccines and developing autism spectrum disorder".

"Many people don't resonate well with data and numbers - they resonate better through stories", he said.

In Ethan's previously mentioned Reddit post, he said that his mother begged him not to get vaccinated, and even told him that doing so meant he didn't care about her. "This has been largely debunked by the scientific community", Lindenberger said in a YouTube video posted Saturday.

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Sarah Myriam of New Jersey holds her daughter Aliyah, 2, as they join activists opposed to vaccinations outside a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the safety of vaccines, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

The measles outbreaks aren't only causing concern in Washington, DC. The only non-medical professional witness, the high-schooler spoke about his decision to get vaccinated and how to correct the spread of misinformation.

A recent Washington state measles outbreak, one of six ongoing outbreaks in the United States, has afflicted 71 people, the Department of Health reports.

Yet not everyone agreed fully with some of the ideas put forth in the hearing, such as mandatory vaccine requirements.

The subject matter for the day's hearing - vaccinations - is a timely topic. I'm also afraid I'd go somewhere that up-charges vaccines way more than somewhere just down the street.

"But I still do not favor giving up on liberty for a false sense of security." he concluded.

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Ethan, who lives with his father and wants to become a pastor, firmly believes his mother had good intentions in refusing to vaccinate her children.

"He's excited; he's very excited", said Lindenberger's father Joe, who took his son to the airport Monday. The thread, posted to "No Stupid Questions", asked users if he should get vaccinated without his parents' consent now that he's 18, and, if so, where.

Anti-vaccine proponents espouse a widely discredited view that vaccines can cause autism or brain damage.

The New York Times: What Really Makes A Difference In Vaccination Rates? .

According to Paul, people who support the measles vaccine "will be after us next" to mandate the flu vaccine.

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