"I've seen people who have not been vaccinated who required liver transplantation because they were not", Cassidy explained.
Tuesday, the high school senior told the Senate panel that parents aren't the only ones who need better education. In Annals of Internal Medicine on Tuesday, researchers compared vaccinated and unvaccinated tots and concluded: "Our study does not support that MMR vaccination increases the risk for autism, triggers autism in susceptible children or is associated with clustering of autism cases after vaccination".
"As the title explains, my parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme. But, due to their beliefs I've never been vaccinated for anything, god knows how I'm still alive".
Vaccination against a list of diseases is required to attend school, but 17 states, including OH, allow some type of non-medical exemption for "personal, moral or other beliefs", according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The majority of the country allows exclusively for religious exemptions, and only two states have just medical exemptions.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (yes, they actually call themselves the HELP Senate Committee) convened.
Vaccine hesitancy is particularly prominent in the U.S. For example, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that while coverage of most recommended vaccines remained relatively stable and high in 2017 for American children aged 19 to 35 months, the percentage who have received no vaccinations has quadrupled since 2001. These include: Dr. John Wiseman, the Secretary of Health for the Washington State Department of Health; Saad Omer, Professor of Epidemiology & Pediatrics at Emory University and John Boyle, President and CEO of the Immune Deficiency Foundation.
It's important to "to inform people about how to find good information" about vaccinations and to remind them how unsafe vaccine-preventable diseases are, he told the committee. Also at issue: whether addressing that misinformation might be a way to stop outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases before they start.
Lindenberger went on to rebuke online sources that push anti-vaccine agendas. His mom got her misinformation from conspiracy posts on Facebook, posts created to "instill fear in the public". He cited Facebook as the greatest source of fuel for his mother's anti-vax ideology.
"I think it's the same with vaccinations", he added.
When he turned 18 a few months ago, Lindenberger began getting vaccinated, and he is finally caught up on all his shots.
The members of the committee were roundly complimentary of Lindenberger, notably former VP-candidate Tim Kaine.
"For myself and my children I believe that the benefits of vaccines greatly outweigh the risks", Paul said.
During the question and answer portion of the hearing, Lindenberger said that his mother is reading posts and watching videos on Facebook that warns parents of the supposed harm of vaccination.
Lindberger also recently engaged in an AMA ("ask me anything") forum on Reddit, the home of his now-viral original post. "Now, if you're such a believer in liberty that you do not wish to be vaccinated then there should be a effect and that is you can not infect other people". "The thing people miss is that you're usually taking to another human. That's the most genuine and kind thing we can do while not making the situation any less important".