Ethan Lindenberger testifies during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019, to examine vaccines, focusing on preventable disease outbreaks.
Ethan Lindenberger testifies during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019, to examine vaccines, focusing on preventable disease outbreaks.

An Ohio teenager who defied his anti-vaccine mother and received shots against several dangerous diseases was the star witness at a Senate hearing Tuesday.

Eighteen-year-old Ethan Lindenberger said he did his own research and concluded his mother is wrong in believing vaccines are unsafe and cause autism.

Sarah Myriam of New Jersey holds her daughter Aliy
Sarah Myriam of New Jersey holds her daughter Aliyah, 2, as they join activists opposed to vaccinations outside a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019.

Lindenberger said his mother's "love, affection and care are apparent" but said his school in Norwalk, Ohio, saw him as a "health threat" because of the danger he could become sick with a contagious disease.

He testified that his own research convinced him vaccines are safe, but still failed to convince his mother.

Without her approval, Lindenberger got himself inoculated against hepatitis, influenza, tetanus, human papillomavirus, polio, and measles, mumps and rubella.

He said his mother still turns to what he calls "illegitimate sources that instill fear into the public."

Ethan Lindenberger shakes hands with Senate Health
Ethan Lindenberger shakes hands with Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., right, before the start of a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019, to examine vaccines.

Lindenberger first made headlines late last year when he posted a message on social media saying "My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme ... God knows how I'm still alive," and asked for guidance on how to protect himself.

He said thousands of other kids posted similar statements and said he wants youngsters to know that they do not always need their parents' permission to get vaccinated.

Tuesday's Senate hearing on vaccines was called, in part, to address an outbreak of measles.

There are 200 known cases in 11 states so far this year with the Pacific Northwest hardest hit.