Medicine

Ethan Lindenberger Testifies About Getting Vaccinated Despite Anti-Vaxxer Mother

Ethan Lindenberger Testifies About Getting Vaccinated Despite Anti-Vaxxer Mother

An Ohio teenager who defied his anti-vaxxer mother's wishes and got all his shots at 18 has testified before Congress about risky the spread of misinformation is.

Lindenberger said his mother's "love, affection and care are apparent" but said his school in Norwalk, Ohio, saw him as a "health threat" because of the danger he could become sick with a contagious disease.

"My mom didn't believe that vaccines were beneficial to the health and safety of society and believes that they cause autism, brain damage and other complications", the 18-year-old said.

The teenager's testimony comes as the US has faced measles outbreaks in states - including Washington - that have been credited largely to skepticism surrounding vaccinations and unsubstantiated accusations of links between vaccines and autism, according to the website The Hill.

Similar unsafe outbreaks have occurred in Brazil, France and Ukraine. "Although this has been largely debunked by the scientific community, because of that, I did not receive the majority of standard vaccines that an individual would receive".

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 Capitol Hill in Washington
WATCH: Teen shares why he defied mother’s anti-vaccination ideas

He explained his mother was sceptical of any information published by leading health bodies, such as the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, turning instead to online anti-vaxx groups. Amid growing concerns about its negative effect on public health, Amazon has reportedly begun removing anti-vaccine documentaries from Prime Video.

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But nearly all states - 47 out of 50 - allow exemptions on religious, moral, or personal grounds, including Lindenberger's state of Ohio. In Annals of Internal Medicine on Tuesday, researchers compared vaccinated and unvaccinated tots and concluded: "Our study does not support that MMR vaccination increases the risk for autism, triggers autism in susceptible children or is associated with clustering of autism cases after vaccination".

Lindenberger wasn't vaccinated until he took himself to be immunised at 18.

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

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Vaccines prevent diseases like hepatitis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella and the chickenpox.

He was soon invited to appear before a panel of senators, several of whom praised his persistence in seeking out the truth.

"I grew up in an anti-vax household", he said in the clip. "I'd love to be a guest at Thanksgiving dinner at your house", joked Isakson.

Ethan's mother did not testify. "My mother came in the sense of loving her children and being concerned", Lindenberger told lawmakers Tuesday. "I think it's important to point out that even if flu shots are not completely effective, they do mitigate". He said parents who question vaccines are not acting out of malice but actual concern for their children.

Lindenberger said one of the main challenges now is to counter the online anti-vaccination sites that peddle conspiracy theories.

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"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 you can not infect other people", Cassidy said. "My mom reaffirmed that her position was correct because she knows people and she sees stories - but correlation doesn't equal causation". While the science is clear that vaccines do not cause autism, we do need to better understand its causes. "As with many topics, just because you found it on the internet doesn't make it true".

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