Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

Ohio teen tells Senate why he defied his mom to get vaccinated

Screenshot  CSPAN Screenshot CSPAN
Anna Jefferson | 09 March, 2019, 02:12

An Ohio teen defied his mother's anti-vaccine beliefs and started getting his shots when he turned 18 - and told Congress on Tuesday that it's crucial to counter fraudulent claims on social media that scare parents. Ethan Lindenberger, of Norwalk, appeared on Tuesday before the US Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor, and Pensions (left) and discussed the fights he had with his mother, Jill Wheeler (together, right) over this decision to catch up on his vaccines.

Lindenberger explained that his mother relied on "anti-vaccine groups online and on social media" to reinforce her views about vaccinations, and warned that this sort of "deeply rooted misinformation" was risky. He told lawmakers it's important "to inform people about how to find good information" and to remind them how risky these diseases really are.

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 disease was declared eliminated in the U.S.in 2000, which means it was not being spread domestically. Rand Paul (R-KY) over whether the government should mandate vaccines for children.

When asked where he gets his information on vaccines, Lindenberger said, with a laugh, "Not Facebook", and said he instead goes to the "CDC, World Health Organization, scientific journals and also cited information from those organizations. accredited sources", according to the Washington Post.

There are now at least 206 confirmed measles cases reported across 11 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington. That's more than the number of cases combined in 2017.

Doctors today blamed social media, in part, for spreading false information about vaccines and encouraged concerned parents to turn to pediatricians, not the internet. He called for an increase to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's budget and increased funding for immunization programs that involve sharing immunization information with parents and maintaining electronic immunization systems.

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"Some years it's completely wrong", he said.

Some members of the audience erupted into applause when Kentucky Sen.

And further, he said, "hospitals commonly require their employees to be immunized, because they understand that herd immunity is important, and if a nurse's aide is not immunized, she can be a Typhoid Mary, if you will, bringing disease to many who are immunocompromised". "But I do not favor on giving up on liberty for a false sense of security".

Lindenberger wasn't vaccinated until he took himself to be immunised at 18. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) noted vaccine requirements only apply to children entering school, and exercising individual liberty should not come at the expense of the health of others.

"I'd love to be a guest at your Thanksgiving dinner at your house", quipped Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican. He said parents who question vaccines are not acting out of malice but actual concern for their children.

Clark County Public Health has added a new location to places people might have been exposed to measles.

"People can skim over that, but it's a huge problem", he said. "The only way to protect against measles is to get vaccinated".

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