WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a Senate committee hearing on vaccines and outbreaks of preventable diseases, a 19-year-old man from Ohio testified about getting vaccinated as an adult, defying his mother’s anti-vaccine beliefs.
Ethan Lindenberger told senators his mother was manipulated into believing that getting vaccinated could cause diseases and disorders like autism.
“For my mother, her love and affection and care as a parent was used to push an agenda to create a false distress,” Lindenberger stated. “And these sources, which spread misinformation, should be the primary concern of the American people.”
The 19-year-old decided to get himself vaccinated when he turned 18, defying his mother who developed anti-vaccine views from social media sites.
Lindenberger told the committee, “I think part of the issue is being able to inform people how to find good information because, with my mother, it wasn’t that she didn’t have the information, but she was manipulated into disbelieving it. And so that is part of the attack—that the CDC was made out to be a fraudulent group.”
Tuesday’s hearing comes as the U.S. faces a large outbreak of measles, a vaccine-preventable disease.
Washington State Secretary of Health Dr. John Wiesman said, “I see your pain and your desire for answers to your children’s health issues. Your mission to protect the health of your children is one we share. While the science is clear—vaccines do not cause autism—we do need to better understand its causes.”
There was one voice of dissent from senators at today’s hearing: Rand Paul. The Kentucky senator didn’t ask any questions, saying instead that he believed in the benefits of vaccines but did not favor giving up liberties for a false sense of security.