Ethan Lindenberger will testify Tuesday in front of a Senate committee on preventable disease outbreaks and the misinformation that causes them.
But it was just a couple months ago that he hadn’t had a single vaccination. His mother wouldn’t allow it.
“I grew up in an [anti-vaccination] household, my mom didn’t believe that vaccines were beneficial to the health and safety of society, and believes that they cause autism, brain damage and other complications. This has been largely debunked by the scientific community,” Lindenberger said in a YouTube video on Saturday.
So, when he turned 18 a few months ago, Lindenberger began getting vaccinated and has finally gotten caught up on all his shots.
In a Reddit post in November, the Ohio teen shared his story hoping for advice and information on where he could get vaccinated.
“My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme… I’ve never been vaccinated for anything, god knows how I’m still alive,” Lindenberger wrote in the post.
He later posted an update, saying that he had made an appointment.
“My mom was especially angry but my dad said because I’m 18 he doesn’t care that much. Although my moms (sic) trying to convince me to not do it and saying I don’t care about her, I know that this is something I need to do regardless.”
“I was doing it for my safety and the safety of others,” he said in early February. “My parents are very happy that I’m continuing to express that the importance of a vaccine is beyond just me and other people, and I’m glad to share that story.”
This week, Lindenberger will stand in front of the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, in a hearing, titled “Vaccines Save Lives: What is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?”
He will speak alongside two professors of pediatrics and epidemiology; the Washington state secretary of health; and the president and CEO of the Immune Deficiency Foundation.
Linderberger said he was excited to share the news and is “looking forward to speaking in Washington D.C.”