Most states allow parents to claim a religious exemption to vaccination requirements for their children to attend school.
Eighteen-year-old Ethan Lindenberger appeared before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Tuesday to talk about how he chose to get vaccinated against the wishes of his mother, who is anti-vaccine.
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.
Tuesday, the high school senior told the Senate panel that parents aren't the only ones who need better education.
According to the CDC, two doses of the vaccine are 97 percent effective against the measles, while one dose is 93 percent effective - and vaccinated people who still get the disease tend to have a milder illness.
Ethan Lindenberger's mother, Jill Wheeler, is unfazed by her son's recent appearance before Congress where he talked about his decision to get vaccinated despite his parents' wishes.
"I didn't agree with anything he said", she told The Associated Press. "If you're planning an global trip, the World Health Organization recommends that adults or adolescents unsure of their immune status get a dose of measles vaccine before traveling", Dr.
Lindenberger revealed that the source of his mother's unfounded fear comes from misinformation being spread online, specifically on the social media site Facebook.
Facebook told The Washington Post that it has taken steps to reduce the distribution of misinformation on the platform but admits that they still "have more to do".
The disease is easily spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes, as well as through contact with mucus or saliva from an infected person. "They've made him the poster child for the pharmaceutical industry".
"We urge everyone to check to make sure they and their family members are up-to-date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations".