During the question and answer portion of the hearing, Lindenberger said that his mother is reading posts and watching videos on Facebook that warns parents of the supposed harm of vaccination. She also said she respects her son's decision to be vaccinated, but doesn't agree with it and wishes her son had listened to her reasoning as much as he took into account the research he did. "My entire family could've been vaccinated". Lindenberger is the third of seven children - his oldest sister is fully vaccinated and his older brother has some of his vaccinations, but he and his four younger siblings were not given their childhood vaccinations. That's more than the number of cases combined in 2017.
Emory University Professor Saad Omer suggested making vaccine counseling reimbursable, among other possible ways to prevent outbreaks and the spread of misinformation.
An Ohio teen finds himself at the center of a national debate over personal rights and national health.
Facebook has since been accused of being an enabler of misinformation as many false news and misinformation drives are published and conducted in the social networking platform.
"Yes. Mainly Facebook", Lindenberger replied.
Lindenberger grew up without common vaccinations like those for measles and chicken pox before finally getting immunizations starting in December.
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". After doing his own research and realizing that "my school viewed me as a health threat", Ethan started studying the benefits and risks of vaccinations from sources like the CDC, the World Health Organization, and scientific journals.More news: Bangladeshis leave phones, cameras in Uber cars
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In a separate interview with the Washington Post, Lindenberger said that his mom's disagreements about vaccines were "really frustrating". "I knew if I were to continue arguing and push my stance, even if it was correct, I wouldn't get anywhere". In one instance, he cited the CDC. Ethan never got any of the standard vaccines for school-age students because his mother, Jill Wheeler, always exempted him (17 states, including OH, allow non-medical exemption for "personal, moral or other beliefs"). "She didn't trust any sources".
"I think she understands that it's important to me".
Lindberger says his mother is not unique, and many are swayed by information falsely presented on Facebook to be accurate.
Not only has the USA experienced a slew of risky measles outbreaks in the past year (there have been 159 confirmed cases across 10 states) but the World Health Organization recently named vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 global health threats.
A recent Washington state measles outbreak, one of six ongoing outbreaks in the United States, has afflicted 71 people, the Department of Health reports.
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. The epicenter of that outbreak lies in Clark County, an area near Portland that officials have dubbed an anti-vaccination "hotspot" because of the high rate of nonmedical exemption from required vaccines.