Ethan Lindenberger is now a world-renowned vaccine advocate. But it was only last November that the then-18-year-old gained attention following a Reddit discussion in which he asked about how to get vaccinated, despite the opposition of his “kind of stupid parents.” Lindenberger, who grew up without common vaccinations, finally started getting immunizations in December.
Earlier this year, he appeared before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to share that he decided to get vaccinated because he saw that the information in defense of vaccines he got from the CDC, the World Health Organization and scientific journals heavily outweighed the concerns.
Lindenberger’s mother, meanwhile, got most of her misinformation about vaccines on Facebook, he told the committee. He added that organized groups spreading disinformation “instill fear into the public for their own gain, selfishly” and “should be the primary concern of the American people.” Lindenberger’s story caught the attention of media outlets including The New York Times, NPR, The Washington Post and The Guardian. He has also appeared as a guest on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.
In June, he spoke in New York City at a high-level United Nations event on combating vaccine misinformation as the country’s measles count moves toward a quarter-century high. There have been 1,243 cases so far in 2019, according to the CDC. A TED Talk Lindenberger gave earlier this year, titled “Why we need to fight misinformation about vaccines,” has reached over 1 million views on YouTube. He was also named a Time Next Generation Leader this year.