Health Care

Child of Anti-Vaxxer Speaks to Congress After Receiving Immunizations

Child of Anti-Vaxxer Speaks to Congress After Receiving Immunizations”

The experts said vaccinations are unsafe for some with rare diseases, and that population's health depends on everyone else getting shots.

He said as he approached high school, he began to think critically for himself and presented information, including statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that challenged his mother's anti-vaccination ideas.

Ethan Lindenberger spent his first 18 years unvaccinated - defenceless against tetanus, polio, measles.

When Lindenberger would attempt to show his mother scientific evidence and reports disproving anti-vaxx misinformation, such as the thoroughly debunked claim that vaccines cause autism, she would instead point to anecdotes shared on Facebook anti-vax groups.

There are now at least 206 confirmed measles cases reported across 11 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

All states require children to get an MMR vaccination prior to entering kindergarten.

He added that his parents were not intentionally ignoring facts, and that they turned against vaccines because they thought it would protect their kids.

Many vaccines are theoretically mandatory for children to attend school in the United States.

But nearly all states - 47 out of 50 - allow exemptions either on religious, moral, or personal grounds, including Lindenberger's state of Ohio. He gained attention in November by asking about how to get vaccinated despite the opposition of his "kind of stupid parents" in a discussion on Reddit.

He received thousands of responses, and the USA media came calling.

"I grew up in an [anti-vaccination] household".

He was soon invited to appear before a panel of senators, several of whom praised his persistence in seeking out the truth. Isakson said, "I'd love to have Thanksgiving dinner at your house".

"You may or may not know I am a physician", Cassidy said.

Ethan's mother did not testify. Rand Paul (R-KY) over whether the government should mandate vaccines for children.

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. "I feel like if my mom didn't interact with that information, and she wasn't swayed by those arguments and stories, it could've potentially changed everything", he said.

Ethan Lindenberger said his decision wasn't about going against his parents' wishes, but doing what will keep him healthy and will keep other people from getting sick as well. "That speaks volumes to people because it reaffirms, especially for my mom, that her position is correct".

Already the effects are being seen, with major outbreaks of measles across the USA, where anti-vax rhetoric is more popular than in the United Kingdom or Australia.

John Boyle, president and CEO of the nonprofit Immune Deficiency Foundation, said at the hearing that "the current decline in vaccine usage is literally bringing back plagues of the past".

Ethan has four younger brothers and sisters.

"So far, there's been a substantial leaning towards my side", he said. 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".



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