Boy, who got vaccinated against parents' wishes, to address Senate
Ethan Lindenberger from the US turned a rebel when he questioned his parents' anti-vaccine acts, and then got himself vaccinated, grabbing eyeballs from the national media. Now, the 18-year-old announced that he would be speaking on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions in front of the Senate Committee at a hearing on Tuesday. His speech will be dedicated to examining the outbreaks of preventable diseases.
Ethan to appear alongside Washington state's secretary of health
On Saturday, Ethan announced on YouTube about his upcoming speech and said, "I'm looking forward to speaking in Washington, DC." At the hearing, experts such as John Wiesman, Washington state's secretary of health, and Saad B. Omer, a professor at Emory University will also appear.
Parents believed vaccination causes autism, so deprived Ethan of injections
According to Ethan, his mother believed in vaccination conspiracies such as it causing autism and thus he wasn't vaccinated for years. He then consulted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and last November, he asked on Reddit how to get vaccinated. Ethan then went to the Ohio Department of Health in December last year to receive some standard vaccinations.
Ethan's mother felt like he spat on her, father okay
Some of the vaccinations Ethan received were of Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, influenza and HPV. According to his mother, Jill Wheeler, her son's decision was "like him spitting on me, saying 'You don't know anything, I don't trust you with anything'." However, his father was not much resistant to the idea because Ethan was of legal age when he got himself vaccinated.
Ethan has four younger-siblings; believes 2-year-old sister won't get vaccinated
Notably, Ohio is among the 17 states in the United State where parents can choose not to get their children vaccinated based on philosophical or moral grounds. Ethan's parents have five children, including his 2-year-old sister who he believes will probably not be vaccinated. "It breaks my heart that she could get measles and she would be done," he said.
US saw 17 outbreaks of measles last year: CDC data
As per CDC data, the US saw 17 outbreaks of measles last year, with three alone in New York State, New York City, and New Jersey. Measles in these places were mostly caught by non-vaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish Communities. They were associated with people who traveled to Israel, where a large outbreak was happening and brought back the disease to the US.
Washington trying to pass bill to reduce vaccines exemptions
The Senate hearing comes after 68 people caught measles this year till now in the Pacific Northwest. Along with Ohio, Oregon and Washington also let parents opt out of vaccinating their children. Washington is trying to pass a bill to reduce the exemptions for vaccines but it's facing backlash from anti-vaxxers, who believe in rumors of vaccines causing severe health-conditions and even death.