Eighteen-year-old Ethan Lindenberger was raised by parents who are strongly opposed to vaccines. They taught him to believe that vaccines cause developmental problems, as well as autism and brain defects. For most of his life, he didn’t question their beliefs, but as he grew older and did his own research, he raised some concerns. The more he learned about vaccines, the more he disagreed with his parents’ decision not to vaccinate their children. Worried about his own safety and health, he decided to get himself vaccinated as soon as he became a legal adult. Now he plans to testify before Congress about the misinformation out there regarding vaccines, according to HuffPost.
Lindenberger made headlines when he decided to go against his parents wishes. Many praised him for educating himself and seeing the importance of learning more about the controversial issue. His mother, Jill Wheeler, has seven children. She’s been outspoken on social media about her stance against vaccines in general, even though she did get her two eldest children vaccinated when encouraged to do so by doctors. However, when she realized that the law does not require parents to vaccinate their children, she opted against vaccines for her youngest five kids.
Teen who defied #AntiVaxx mom to testify before congress about #vaccine misinformation. Ethan Lindenberger, 18, will discuss his decision to get #vaccinated despite his mom's beliefs in front of the Senate health committee. https://t.co/oEHEhJho3D
— To Shed Light (@ToShedLight) March 3, 2019
Lindenberger first began to question his mother’s beliefs when he saw how many people criticized her on social media when she spoke about her decision. Many condemned her for spreading what they deemed to be false information. This encouraged Ethan to delve into scientific research and seek help on online forums. In a post that has since gone viral, the teen inquired about where to go to get himself vaccinated when he was legally allowed to make the decision for himself. He didn’t hold back in criticizing his parents’ beliefs.
“My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme. It’s stupid and I’ve had countless arguments over the topic. But, because of their beliefs I’ve never been vaccinated for anything, God knows how I’m still alive.”
Shortly after his 18th birthday, Lindenberger received vaccines for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, and HPV at an Ohio Department of Health office. His only regret is that he wasn’t able to get himself protected sooner. Now, he is strongly pro-vaccination and is hoping to use his newfound publicity to spread public awareness about the benefits vaccines can yield in the long term.
“I’m happy to share that I’ll be testifying at a hearing for the committee of health, education labor, and pensions about the importance of vaccinations,” he wrote on social media.