Not all heroes wear capes.
An Ohio teenager who defied his anti-vaxx parents and got himself vaccinated has now testified before congress on the issue.
He says that his mom is not stupid, but simply misinformed — and that she gets a lot of bogus information from Facebook.
Ethan Lindenberger is now 18 and only recently received his first vaccinations.
Why? Because his parents believe misinformation instead of medical science.
But, as he explained in his testimony before Congress, his parents are victims — not perpetrators.
"My mother is an anti-vaxx advocate [who] believes that vaccines … do not benefit the health and safety of society," Ethan says.
He laments that she believes this "despite the fact such opinions have been debunked numerous times by the scientific community."
"I approached my mother with this concern, that she was incorrect," Ethan explains.
"I approached my mother numerous times," he elaborates. "Trying to explain that vaccines are safe and that my family should be vaccinated."
He did so "With articles from the CDC explaining that ideas that vaccines cause autism and extremely dangerous consequences was incorrect."
"In one such instance when I approached my mother with information from the CDC," Ethan reveals.
He says: "she responded ‘that’s what they want you to think.’"
"Now, conversations like these reaffirm that evidence in defence of vaccines," Ethan says.
He continues: "was at least on the anecdotal level much greather than the deeply rooted misinformation that my mother interacted with."
"To combat preventable disease outbreaks," Ethan opines. "Information is at the forefront of this matter."
"My mother would turn to anti-vaccine groups online and on social media," he says. "Looking for her evidence in defense."
He is saddened that she looked there "Rather than from health officials and credible sources."
"This may seem to be in malice," Ethan acknowledges. "Because of the dangers that not vaccinating imposes."
"But," he says. "This is not the case."
"My mother came in the sense of loving her children and being concerned," he affirms.
"Misinformation spreads, and that’s not necessarily justifiable," he admits. "But I carried this knowledge with respect and love for my mother."
"And with the information that she provided," he adds. "I continued to try to explain that it was misinformed."
Ethan says: "Ideas that vaccines cause autism, brain damage, and also that the measles outbreak is of no concern to society and to Amercia."
He continues: "were ideas that were pushed by these sources that she would go to."
(Yeah, the the measles are fine, actually response to six recent outbreaks has been stunning)
"For certain individuals and organizations that spread this misinformation," he says.
Ethan accuses: "They instill fear into the public for their own gain, selfishly, and do so knowing that this information is incorrect."
"For my mother,," Ethan says. "Her love affection and care as a parent was used to push an agenda to create false distress"
"And," he adds. "These sources that spread misinformation should be the primary concern of the American people."
He is absolutely right.
Between Russian operatives hoping to sow conflict and self-interested companies hoping that people will buy herbal vitamins …
… or essential oils to vainly try to protect their kids from polio, the forces behind anti-vaxxers are the real threat.
The parents, dangerously wrong though they may be, usually change their minds once an outbreak begins in their area.
Most of the anti-vaxxer parents around these days are simply too young to remember the horrors of preventable disease.