Teen tells Congress why he defied his mother to get vaccinated

Pearl Mccarthy
March 8, 2019

Lindenberger's mother got most of her misinformation about vaccines on Facebook, he told the committee.

In an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, Lindenberger said Facebook, or websites that were linked to through Facebook, is really the only source his mother ever relied on for her anti-vaccine information.

Last December, despite his mother's disapproval and realizing that "my school viewed me as a health threat", Lindenberger began catching up on his missed immunizations. 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 risky diseases like measles truly are.

According to the latest federal government statistics, 206 individual cases of measles have been recorded in 11 states so far. It's unsafe: 1 in 20 patients get pneumonia, and 1 in 1,000 get brain swelling that can lead to seizures, deafness or intellectual disability.

However, when a public health emergency was declared in Washington State after a measles outbreak, Lindenberger knew he had to act, reaching out to Reddit for advice on how to get immunised without his parents' involvement now he was of age.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (yes, they actually call themselves the HELP Senate Committee) convened.

The vaccine is highly effective and very safe, John Wiesman, Washington state's health secretary, told the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee.

All states require children to get an MMR vaccination prior to entering kindergarten. "Now that I'm 18, where do I go to get vaccinated?".

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Vaccination against a list of diseases is required to attend school, but 17 states, including OH, allow some type of non-medical exemption for "personal, moral or other beliefs", according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The company told The Washington Post it has "taken steps to reduce the distribution of health-related misinformation on Facebook, but we know we have more to do". Meanwhile, he got information about vaccines from the CDC, the World Health Organization and scientific journals, he said. While the science is clear that vaccines do not cause autism, we do need to better understand its causes.

Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) asked him about the debates he had with his family, which Lindenberger said involved much citing of opposing sources.

"If the nurse's aide is not immunized, she can be a Typhoid Mary, if you will, bringing disease to many who are immunocompromised", Cassidy said, adding that in a school setting, requirements may be in place to protect the health of students, including those who might have weakened immune systems and therefore cannot get immunized. "They've made him the poster child for the pharmaceutical industry", she said.

OH teenager Ethan Lindenberger also supported the ad campaign proposal.

But cases have been rising in recent years, and 2019 is shaping up to be a bad one.

Doctors and Congress spent the hearing talking about the importance of vaccines, especially among children. "Now, if you're such a believer in liberty that you do not wish to be vaccinated, then there should be a outcome, and that is that you can not infect other people".

Lindenberger described in his prepared testimony how being raised anti-vaccine affected his life.

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