Teen Testifies to Congress About Anti-Vaccine Mom

Teen Who Had Himself Vaccinated Named Facebook As The Source Of His Anti Vaxx Mom's Misinformation

Image from @ethan_Joseph16 Twitter

"Certain individuals and organizations which spread misinformation and instill fear into the public for their own gain selfishly put countless people at risk", he said.

Lindenberger's 16-year-old brother is also considering getting vaccinated but will have to wait until he's 18 if his parents don't give him permission due to state laws. 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. 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.

Over 200 cases of measles have been confirmed in the U.S.in the past few months.

Ethan Lindenberger shakes hands with Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chairman, Sen. An autism-vaccine link was long ago exposed as a fraud but still is cited by vaccine opponents.

In the USA, more than 90 percent of the population nationally is properly vaccinated but there are pockets of the country, including in Wiesman's hard-hit state, where fewer children get immunized on time or at all.

Canada's chief health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam also weighed in on this wave of later in life vaccinations saying "I don't think it's too late ever to get your measles immunization up to date". Forty-seven states permit parents or guardians to forgo their child's school-required immunizations for religious beliefs, and 17 states also allow for a child to go unvaccinated if the parent has personal, moral, or other beliefs about the procedure.

Facebook told the Washington Post in February that they've "taken steps to reduce the distribution of health-related misinformation on Facebook, but we know we have more to do".

"We see that with the anti-vaccine community". "The only way to protect against measles is to get vaccinated".

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

"When you convince parents not that their information is incorrect but that their children are at risk that is a much more substantial way to cause people to change their minds", Lindenberger said.

And while mom Jill Wheeler told Undark that her son's decision was "a slap in the face", Ethan's testimony comes amid increasing concern about the spread of misinformation surrounding vaccination, as the number of unvaccinated American children rises. She later told the Associated Press that she was proud of Ethan, but questioned why the government "made him the poster child for the pharmaceutical industry".

But nearly all states - 47 out of 50 - allow exemptions on religious, moral, or personal grounds, including Lindenberger's state of Ohio.

He said thousands of other kids posted similar statements and said he wants youngsters to know that they do not always need their parents' permission to get vaccinated.

Wiesman said during the hearing that "sustained, predictable and increased federal funding" is needed for public health efforts to prevent outbreaks.

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.

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