Ohio teen tells Senate why he defied his mom to get vaccinated

Ohio teen tells Senate why he defied his mom to get vaccinated

Ohio teen tells Senate why he defied his mom to get vaccinated

An Ohio teenager testified before Congress on Tuesday about choosing to get vaccinated at 18 despite his mother's scientifically unfounded claim that immunizations have been linked to autism, BuzzFeed News reports.

Along with health experts and other witnesses, Ethan will discuss the importance of vaccines in preventing diseases at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Specifically, he said, she turned to anti-vaccine groups on social media for evidence that supported her point of view.

"My decision to get myself vaccinated was based on the health and safety of myself and other people".

The 18-year-old from OH spoke to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions about how he came to the decision to get vaccinated on his own, and how his parents developed their unfounded beliefs that vaccines are unsafe.

Sarah Myriam of New Jersey holds her daughter Aliyah 2 as they join activists opposed to vaccinations outside a Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington

The committee hearing is titled "Vaccines Save Lives: What is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?".

Already the effects are being seen, with major outbreaks of measles across the USA, where anti-vax rhetoric is more popular than in the United Kingdom or Australia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explicitly states that there is no link between vaccines and autism.

Vaccine effectiveness was a big topic of interest at the hearing, as well as concerns about the spread of medically inaccurate information online relating to vaccines. But the focus on anti-vaccine content on social media can obscure the most important factor in whether children get vaccinated: the rules in their home states, which are being revisited in legislative debates across the country that have received far less attention.

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One of them, Jena Dalpez from Washington state, which has recorded more than 70 measles cases since January, argued that parents of unvaccinated and infected children "knew the risks".

Even if flu shots are not completely effective, he said, "they do mitigate, and so there is a cross benefit that will decrease the severity". Nonetheless, opposition to mandatory vaccines remains fierce.

"I'm not here to say 'don't vaccinate your kids.' If this hearing is for persuasion, I'm all for the persuasion".

"But I still do not favor giving up on liberty for a false sense of security." he concluded. "Now that I'm 18, where do I go to get vaccinated?" There are 75 people between Washington and OR who have measles and two people in Clark County are suspected of having measles but not confirmed. His father, though, said that since he's 18 he's fine with it. He said parents who question vaccines are not acting out of malice but actual concern for their children. In November he looked for advice on Reddit abut how to get vaccinated, and has since had his HPV vaccination and the flu shot, with plans to get the rest of the usual childhood vaccinations, like the ones for measles, mumps and rubella.

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Lindenberger went on to rebuke online sources that push anti-vaccine agendas.

"I want to speak directly to the parents who have children with serious health issues and who have been attending our hearings in Washington state and are watching this hearing today", health secretary Wiesman said at the hearing. "Although this has been largely debunked by the scientific community, because of that, I did not receive the majority of standard vaccines that an individual would receive".

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