Ethan Lindenberger's vaccine debate heads to congress

Ethan Lindenberger, 18 from Norwalk, Ohio, started rebelling against his parents, like many other teenagers. The reason behind this making news is that his parents were against vaccination and he got himself inoculated against their wishes.

This act of rebellion has captured the interest of not only the public and media but also the Congress now. Ethan, on YouTube last week made an announcement that he had taken this step and now had been invited to speak before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions this Tuesday 5th of March 2019).

An awesome update!

The gathering would hear anecdotes and discussions on outbreak of vaccine-preventable diseases that are making a reappearance due to mass anti-vaccination movements from laypersons. Ethan will speak along with John Wiesman, Washington State’s secretary of health, and Saad B. Omer, a professor at Emory University says the website of the committee. Lindenberger said in the video, “I'm looking forward to speaking in Washington, D.C.”

The World Health Organization has listed that ten major health threats at the beginning of this year and notably anti-vaxxers feature among that list. This has been proven in the measles outbreaks worldwide especially in the developed nations largely due to inadequate vaccine coverage of the children.

According to Lindenberger he was not vaccinated as a child because of his mother’s belief in the vaccination conspiracies. As he grew, he started reading up on vaccination and their safety as well as the need for adequate vaccination. He consulted experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in his quest. Last November he had posted on Reddit seeking advice about vaccination. A month later he visited the Ohio Department of Health and was administered a series of vaccines against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza and HPV. Because he was already 18, he was free to make the choice of getting vaccinated on his own say the health officials. Lindenberger had added later that his mother Jill Wheeler was more against it than his father. His father was not resistant to his vaccinations now as he was of the legal age said Ethan in his post. He says that he has four younger siblings, the youngest of which is 2, and most likely none of them would be vaccinated.

Ohio is one of the seventeen states in the US which allows parents to choose if they wish to vaccinate their children for moral or philosophical reasons. Oregon as well as Washington state too allows parents to choose not to vaccinate their children due to personal or philosophical reasons. According to the CDC, there is a rise in measles cases which can be connected to the rise of the “antivaxxers”. Last year alone there were 17 outbreaks of measles, the CDC reports. Most of these outbreaks came from these three states.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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