Teen who got all his shots despite anti-vaccine mother to testify before Congress

"In the past few months, I caught up on all my shots now that I'm 18," Ethan Lindenberger, of Norwalk, Ohio, said in a YouTube video.

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By Kalhan Rosenblatt

A teenager who confided in a now-viral Reddit post that he had not been fully vaccinated due to his mother's belief that vaccines are dangerous will testify before Congress on Tuesday.

Ethan Lindenberger, of Norwalk, Ohio, who has said he got vaccinated when he turned 18 despite protests from his mother, made the announcement about his upcoming testimony on Twitter and in a YouTube video on Saturday evening.

"My mom didn't believe that vaccines were beneficial to the health and safety of society and believes that they cause autism, brain damage and other complications," Lindenberger explained in the video. "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. In the past few months, I caught up on all my shots now that I'm 18."

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Lindenberger, whose name appears on a list of witnesses testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Tuesday, said he will be discussing things like preventable diseases, the spreading of preventable diseases, and the spread of misinformation.

In Lindenberger's original November Reddit post, he said that his parents believe "vaccines are some kind of government scheme."

Before Lindenberger got vaccinated, he said he tried to provide his mother with scientific research about vaccines, hoping that the material would change her mind and that she would get him and his four younger siblings vaccinated, according to The Washington Post.

Jill Wheeler, Lindenberger's mother, told Undark, a magazine that covers science and society, in February that her son's decision to get vaccinated was a "slap in the face."

“I did not immunize him because I felt it was the best way to protect him and keep him safe,” she said, later adding that by getting vaccinated, she felt Lindenberger was saying, "'You don’t know anything, I don’t trust you with anything. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You did make a bad decision and I’m gonna go fix it.'"

Neither Wheeler nor Lindenberger immediately returned a request for comment made by NBC News.

Vaccines and the spread of preventable diseases have been a recent topic of discussion in Congress.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on Wednesday about a growing measles outbreak in 10 states across the country. Since the beginning of the year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 159 cases of measles in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

One of the main challenges identified in that hearing was stopping the spread of conspiracy theories and misinformation about the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine that have contributed in many communities to a reluctance to get vaccinated.