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Teen who defied anti-vaccine mom will testify before Congress

A teenager who made headlines for defying his mother’s wishes and getting vaccinated at 18 will be sharing his experience in front of Congress on Tuesday.

Ethan Lindenberger of Norwalk, Ohio, announced on Twitter that he’ll be testifying about the importance of vaccines at a hearing for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor, and Pensions.

Lindenberger said in the video that he’s looking forward to speaking about “outbreaks of preventable diseases as well as addressing misinformation that causes these outbreaks.”

He’ll be testifying alongside John Wiesman, the Secretary of Health at the Washington State Department of Health, John G. Boyle, President and CEO of the Immune Deficiency Foundation and other health experts.

Lindenberger’s story went viral after he reached out to Reddit users three months ago to ask whether he could be vaccinated as an adult.

“My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme … I’ve never been vaccinated for anything, God knows how I’m still alive,” he wrote. He asked “where do I go to get vaccinated? Can I get vaccinated at my age?”

Lindenberger has since received vaccines for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza and HPV, according to records obtained by The Washington Post.

His mother, Jill Wheeler, who has other children who are unvaccinated, told Good Morning America that she was in “shock” when she heard of her son’s decision.

People choosing not to vaccinate have become a global health threat in 2019, the World Health Organization reported. The CDC recognized that the number of children who aren’t being vaccinated by 24 months old has been gradually increasing.

‘God knows how I’m still alive’: Son defies mom, chooses to get vaccinated at 18

Growing up unvaccinated: My anti-vaxx mother made me a health risk for the whole community

Contributing: Ashley May, USA TODAY

Follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg

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