Senate HELP Panel Holds Hearing on Preventable Disease Outbreaks

One witness expected to testify is John Wiesman, DrPH, MPH, secretary of health with the Washington State Department of Health, who has been dealing with a measles outbreak in the state. As of March 3, 71 confirmed cases had been reported in Washington state this year.

The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee has scheduled a hearing March 5 titled "Vaccines Save Lives: What Is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?" The list of five witnesses includes two who've attracted attention for different reasons:

John Wiesman, DrPH, MPH, secretary of health with the Washington State Department of Health, has been dealing with a measles outbreak in the state. As of March 3, 71 confirmed cases had been reported in Washington state this year.

Attracting a great deal more attention recently has been another witness on the list, a high school senior named Ethan Lindenberger from Norwalk, Ohio. He has been in the news for choosing to be vaccinated in December 2018 against influenza, hepatitis, tetanus, and HPV, even though his mother disapproved. (State law in Ohio allows 18-year-olds to get vaccinations without their parents' permission.)

Also on the witness list are Saad B. Omer, MBBS, MPH, Ph.D., the William H. Foege Professor of Global Health and Professor of Epidemiology & Pediatrics at Emory University in Atlanta; Dr. Jonathan A. McCullers, M.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Pediatrician-in-Chief, Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, in Memphis, Tenn.; and John G. Boyle, President and CEO of the Immune Deficiency Foundation in Towson, Md.

The hearing is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Eastern time and will be available via a live webcast.

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