Advocate Ethan Lindenberger is urging teens and young adults to get informed about vaccines in a Unity Consortium campaign.
Lindenberger made headlines this year for going against his parents’ wishes and getting vaccinated at age 18. In these videos, which were developed by Outcome Health and will run on its platform, he talks about online vaccine misinformation and why young people should do their own research from reputable sources.
Lindenberger is being joined in the campaign by Unity’s teen advisory council lead, Dr. Laura Offutt. They scroll through social media posts, sharing simple tips on how to spot credible references about vaccines and misinformation. Their advice: look for posts from a reliable source, like a government health agency, with information that is simple, easy to fact-check and that has identified the source for its data. Social posts that don’t check those boxes are more likely to be spreading misinformation.
“Even if something has a ton of people talking about it and sharing it, it does not mean it’s true,” Lindenberger reminds viewers.
In the video, an exasperated Offutt points out a social post about vaccines that misses the mark by citing data with no context and no source. She’s suspicious of how its author is defining things like “chronic disability” and wonders where all these figures are coming from.
Now 19, Lindenberger has become a prominent vaccine advocate. He testified before Congress about vaccine misinformation in March and is a member of the Unity Consortium, a nonprofit dedicated to improving teens’ health through prevention and immunization.
In a second, more serious video, Lindenberger and Offutt talk about the health risks of young people going unvaccinated, such as being exposed to an illness that could affect them immediately or later in life. Offutt also talks about how unvaccinated people can put others in their community at risk of catching preventable diseases.
Lindenberger talked about seeing information his mother would post on social media about vaccines, along with the ensuing debates, and discussed how he branched out to find his own science-backed information about vaccines.