Ethan Lindenberger, an OH teen who got vaccinated against his parents' wishes, spoke at a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
"I grew up understanding my mother believed vaccines are unsafe, as she would speak openly about her views both online and in person", the high schooler said on Tuesday (March 5) in testimony before a Senate hearing on contagious disease outbreaks.
In an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, Lindenberger said Facebook, or websites that were linked to through Facebook, is really the only source his mother ever relied on for her anti-vaccine information. But in December, defying his mother, he went and got inoculated, a rebellion that earned him an invitation to Congress. Lamar Alexander and a Memphis pediatric doctor told a Senate health committee Tuesday at a hearing on vaccine-preventable diseases.
"Her love, affection and care as a parent was used to push an agenda to create a false distress", he said.
This year is shaping up to be a bad one for measles as already, the USA has counted more than 200 cases in 11 states - including about 70 in an outbreak in the Pacific Northwest. 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.
"I just continue to try and be respectful and as kind as I can and share the truth with her", Lindenberger told AFP.
"We tried to put them on the witness list, and there's no room for anyone that has anything negative to say about vaccines".
Paul said the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks - but unlike other Senators in the hearing room, he also suggested they do come with the potential for serious health risks.
The subject matter for the day's hearing - vaccinations - is a timely topic. In Washington, 55 confirmed cases of the disease, which can be prevented with vaccination, prompted the governor to declare a state of emergency in January.More news: Broncos, Redskins Agree on Case Keenum Trade
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Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) on Tuesday clashed with Sen.
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.
"Now, if you believe in liberty, that's fine, don't get immunized, but I don't think you need to necessarily expose others to disease", he said.
If one of his younger children approached him about wanting to be vaccinated, Lindenberger said he would allow them to do so.
In fact, a massive 10-year study of more than 650,000 children born in Denmark offered fresh reassurance that there's no risk of autism from the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine.
"I want to speak directly to the parents who have children with serious health issues and who have been attending our hearings in Washington state and are watching this hearing today", health secretary Wiesman said at the hearing.
Anti-vaccine proponents espouse a widely discredited view that vaccines can cause autism or brain damage.
According to Paul, people who support the measles vaccine "will be after us next" to mandate the flu vaccine.
In Tennessee, the measles vaccination rate for kindergartners is 96.9 percent. He asked how to go about getting vaccinated on his own.