Why We Need To Fight Misinformation About Vaccines: Ethan Lindenberger (Transcript)

Because, when you have a topic that you’re interested in, or a movement that you want to be a part of, and you’re taking a stance and saying what’s true, good ideas don’t avoid criticism.

And for especially young people, they have a hard time dealing with that, and these important discussions that need young people to take a part in, it takes a lot of commitment.

I’m not saying that I’m amazing, but here’s what’s important: through me joining this movement and this important scientific discussion, here’s what happened.

Facebook changed their platform. They were going to change how they approach anti-vax content. Amazon even removed misinformed books about autism and vaccines.

And recently, GoFundMe took down anti-vax campaigns. We’re talking about how movements like this are causing actual change, actually impacting the way this game is played and the misinformation that’s lying to people and convincing them of very dangerous ideas.

Now, before I leave, because I only have a short amount of time, I want to give you one important thing to keep in mind. One important takeaway from this all. What you can do and what I did.

I didn’t do amazing research and studies and take information and present it to people; I didn’t have deep, intellectual, scientific debates with people.

All I did was share my story. And that’s enough for most people: to understand the anecdotal experiences, the real people behind the data.

Because data doesn’t resonate with people. People resonate with people. And you have to keep that in mind, because when you are talking about a topic, and you’re sharing your story, and sharing what is important, you stay authentic.

Stay authentic to the data, to the information, to the importance of this topic.

If I was talking to an individual and they said, “Why are vaccines important?” I would say nothing alongside any other answer, I would not in any way fathomably give them answer outside of: people are dying, and that’s important. And that children are dying, and that’s important. And that we’re having disease outbreaks that should not be here.

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And I believe, as John Boyle put it, these diseases should be in history books and not in our communities. So because of that, you need to make a personal decision to stand up for truth.

You need to make a personal decision for yourself to say, “This is accurate, this is what’s real, and these lies are not OK.”

Because it started with me doing that on a personal level. I wasn’t going from small town to Senate in a day. It wasn’t like, I go to bed, I wake up and there’s Senator Isakson, asking me questions about vaccines.

It was a slow progression and it started with me saying, “This is true, my mom doesn’t believe it, but that’s OK.”

Because that doesn’t change the truth, doesn’t change what’s accurate and what’s important.

And honestly, the biggest thing, this whole idea of unbreakable: remain unbroken. When you stand up for what’s true and you have that criticism, and you’re trying to cause a movement, don’t sway.

Thank you.

Resources for Further Reading:

How Vaccines Train the Immune System in Ways No One Expected: Christine Stabell Benn (Transcript)

Life Lessons From 34 Years of Fighting Cancer: Tyler Jacks (Transcript)

The Most Important Thing You Can Do to Fight Climate Change: Talk About It by Katharine Hayhoe

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