KUALA LUMPUR, March 6 — An 18-year-old American who got vaccinated against his mother’s wishes testified before Congress that his mother got most of her information about vaccines on Facebook.
Ethan Lindenberger told the Senate health committee yesterday that he grew up understanding his mother’s beliefs that vaccines were dangerous.
“Both online and in person she would voice her concerns, and these beliefs were met with strong criticism,” Lindenberger said.
“Over the course of my life, seeds of doubt were planted and questions arose because of the backlash my mother would receive.”
Senator Johnny Isakson (Republican-Georgia) reportedly noted Lindenberger’s frequent reference to the internet.
“Does your mother get most of her information online?” Isakson asked.
“Mainly Facebook,” Lindenberger responded.
The teenager reportedly did his own homework on vaccines and, after turning 18, went to the Ohio Department of Health in his hometown and received standard vaccinations including hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, and HPV.
He reportedly has four younger siblings, including a two-year-old sister whom he believes will likely not get vaccinated.
“It breaks my heart that she could get measles and she’d be done,” Lindenberger told The Washington Post.
Lindenberger told Congress that he did not get information on vaccines from Facebook, but from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organisation, and scientific journals.
“I try my best also to look at accredited sources.”
The US has been hit with six measles outbreaks this year amid a rise in vaccine hesitancy.