Teen Who Got Himself Vaccinated Against Anti-vax Parents' Wishes Will Speak Before Congress

A teenager in Ohio who came to prominence for getting vaccinated against the wishes of his anti-vaccination parents will testify before a Senate committee this week.

Ethan Lindenberg, 18, from Norwalk, Ohio, released a video on YouTube Saturday, sharing footage in which he said he would testify about his experiences before the Senate Health Committee Tuesday.

"I'll be testifying along with the likes of people such as [John] Wiesman, who is the secretary of Health for Washington [state]," Lindenberger said in the video.

The Hill reported Lindenberg's evidence would deal with "preventable diseases, spreading and outbreaks of preventable diseases, as well as addressing misinformation that causes these outbreaks."

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! Check out the video here!https://t.co/sPM12poJVi

— Ethan J. Lindenberger (@ethan_Joesph16) March 3, 2019

The young man's story grabbed headlines following measles outbreaks across the U.S., including in Washington state. The extent of the crisis in the Pacific Northwest led Governor Jay Inslee to declare a national emergency.

The rise in instances of measles, which was announced to have been eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, has been attributed a growing movement of skepticism surrounding vaccinations, associated with unfounded and debunked claims linking vaccines to childhood autism.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, measles can lead to dangerous complications especially for small children and babies. The disease, which can be prevented at a rate of 93% through the MMR vaccine, can lead to pneumonia, brain damage and, in some cases, death.

In an interview with NPR, Lindenberger explained that he had been forced to forgo normal vaccinations, including those for measles, mumps and rubella as well as hepatitis.

He told the outlet that his mother would tell him, throughout his childhood, that vaccinations were bad and that he had been led to believe it was normal for children to go without them. His mother had reportedly been influenced by bogus medical theories, including those that claimed vaccines were linked to autism.

The teenager's eldest sister was vaccinated and his elder brother was partially vaccinated, but when Lindenberger's mother discovered she could opt-out of immunization she did not vaccinate her five younger children.

The 18-year-old went to Reddit to ask for advice as to how to immunize himself. "God knows how I'm still alive," he wrote on the website in November. "When I started looking into it myself, it became very apparent that there was a lot more evidence in defense of vaccinations, in their favor," he told NPR.