Ethan Lindenberger, an 18-year-old who decided to be logical, went against his mother’s will and vaccinated himself in December. The high-school senior from Ohio believes that his mother’s anti-vaccine ideology is influenced by social media.
On Tuesday, Lindenberger traveled to Washington DC to testify before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, and Labor and Pensions, as announced by him on Twitter. Speaking of the importance of “credible” information, he said that his mother’s false beliefs were prompted by social media.
“Although the debate around vaccines is not necessarily centered around information, and concerns for health and safety, this is why education is so important, and also why misinformation is so dangerous,” he stated in his testimony.
Lindenberger highlighted that his mother joined certain anti-vaccine groups on social media, keeping it as an evidence to support her stance. Besides, whenever he used to question about never been vaccinated, his mother would bombard him with false information available online.
The teenager stated that the mother never trusted health officials. “That’s what they want you to think,” she had once said to Lindenberger.
During the question-and-answer segment, the Norwalk teen referred to Facebook as one of the portals used by his mother to portray vaccines as harmful. While learning to research and debate in his school, he learned that “there always seems to be two sides to a discussion. … This is not true for the vaccine debate.”
Social media, particularly Facebook, has been accused of being a platform promoting fake health news. Last month, the site has responded saying that it has “taken steps” to address the issue of spreading misinformation around anti-vaxx posts.
Due to the excess of inaccurate data over the internet and his mother’s anti-vaccine ideology, Lindenberger never got inoculated for polio, hepatitis, chickenpox, measles, rubella or mumps.
According to a World Health Organization report, the increasing anti-vaccine theory among people has become a global health threat in 2019. Besides, it was also recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the children being deprived of vaccines until 24 months of their age is gradually mounting.
While health is one of the major concerns, misinformation is creating some incurable situations. Lindenberger is one of the rare people, who decided to go against his family. There could still be several children and people who have been prevented from getting vaccinated, due to the misinformation available online.
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