A U.S. teen who defied his parents to get immunised at 18 has spoken at Congress, revealing his mother's harmful anti-vaccination "information" came largely from social media. 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 unsafe, speaks before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on March 5, 2019.
Lindenberger's mother got most of her misinformation about vaccines on Facebook, he told the committee.
The committee hearing is titled "Vaccines Save Lives: What is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?"
In recent weeks he has become a hero of believers in modern medicine in the United States, where experts and elected officials still struggle to convince some that their refusal to get themselves or their children vaccinated is fueling several recent outbreaks of measles.
When asked where he gets his information on vaccines, Lindenberger said, with a laugh, "Not Facebook", and said he instead goes to the "CDC, World Health Organization, scientific journals and also cited information from those organizations. accredited sources", according to the Washington Post.
The Norwalk High School student, Ethan Lindenberger, attributed his mother's skepticism and worry about the safety of vaccines as overriding any medical information he had given her. In the past, Paul has questioned whether vaccines should be required, and he's parroted anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, such as in 2015, when he said he'd "heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines". Like many others, Lindenberger said his mother used social media and online groups to talk with like-minded parents, cementing her anti-vax conclusions. He called for an increase to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's budget and increased funding for immunization programs that involve sharing immunization information with parents and maintaining electronic immunization systems.
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Paul's comments were quickly rebuked by his Republican colleague and a fellow doctor, Sen.
Even if flu shots are not completely effective, he said, "they do mitigate, and so there is a cross benefit that will decrease the severity". And as vaccination rates in the United States continue to fall, Congress is getting involved, holding a series of hearings regarding the rise in measles cases. "But I still do not favor giving up on liberty for a false sense of security".
"I grew up in an [anti-vaccination] household". "I'd love to be a guest at Thanksgiving dinner at your house", joked Isakson. Her actions came from a place "of loving her children and being concerned", he said.
Lindenberger isn't the only young person who has taken health into his own hands; as the Washington Post reports, at least two other teenagers have taken similar measures. Countless studies show that vaccines are safe.
Most states allow parents to claim a religious exemption to vaccination requirements for their children to attend school.
All in all, more than 200 people in 11 states have been infected with measles this year.