But in December, defying his mother, he went and got inoculated, a rebellion that earned him an invitation to Congress.
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. Like many others, Lindenberger said his mother used social media and online groups to talk with like-minded parents, cementing her anti-vax conclusions. "Now, if you're such a believer in liberty that you do not wish to be vaccinated, then there should be a outcome, and that is that you can not infect other people".
"I grew up understanding my mother's beliefs that vaccines were unsafe", he said. "Between social media platforms, to using a parent's love as a tool, these lies cause people to distrust in vaccination, furthering the impact of a preventable disease outbreak and even contributing to the cause of diseases spreading", he said.
Already the effects are being seen, with major outbreaks of measles across the United States, where anti-vax rhetoric is more popular than in the United Kingdom or Australia. The CDC also warns of incorrect information, easily spread and made available online.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a how-to-list for youths ages 7 to 18 who've missed childhood shots.
The legislative inquiry comes after six measles outbreaks were declared in the United States including in Clark County, Washington, where 70 confirmed cases have been reported.
The teen told lawmakers there should be more focus on the individuals and organizations that knowingly spread misinformation about vaccines. Nonetheless, opposition to mandatory vaccines remains fierce.
"Given the choice, I do believe that the benefits of most vaccines vastly outweigh the risks, yet it is wrong to say that there are no risks to vaccines", Paul said.
"I'm not here to say 'don't vaccinate your kids.' If this hearing is for persuasion, I'm all for the persuasion". "But I do not favor on giving up on liberty for a false sense of security".
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) on Tuesday clashed with Sen.
"I applaud your critical thinking skills", said Democratic Senator Tim Kaine. He said parents who question vaccines are not acting out of malice but actual concern for their children.
John Boyle, president and CEO of the nonprofit Immune Deficiency Foundation, said at the hearing that "the current decline in vaccine usage is literally bringing back plagues of the past". The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is 93 percent or more effective at preventing measles, according to the CDC.
"I want to speak directly to the parents who have children with serious health issues and who have been attending our hearings in Washington state and are watching this hearing today", health secretary Wiesman said at the hearing.
Lindenberger, testifying alongside distinguished health experts and officials, said "it was a slow progression to start to see evidence" of the effectiveness and safety of vaccines. "None, again, he was asking three months ago where to go to get vaccinated and now he's sitting on a committee voicing his opinion for research he's done on the internet?"