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Ohio teen defies mother and gets vaccinated after turning to strangers online



Disputed and Questionable Safety Theories of Childhood Vaccines are placing a mother of Ohio against her teenage son. Ethan Lindenberger, of old school, has recently challenged her mother and got vaccinated, saying that her parents' wrong beliefs put her health and the health of her younger siblings at risk.

For most of his life, Lindenberger thought it was normal, children are not immunized, but about two years ago he began to see how the vaccine posts his mother was sharing on social media were dangerous.

"I question your judgment, but not your treatment," he said. "You have something like measles, which is a preventable disease that we can vaccinate against that myself and many people believe that it is coming back because of opinions like those that have influenced my mother."

In November, Lindenberger asked the strangers about Reddit, an online bulletin board, where he could go to update himself with his shots. "My parents are pretty stupid," he wrote. "God knows how I'm still alive."

His mother, Jill Wheeler, said he was "wiped out" when he discovered.

"There is a certain degree of feeling, you know, he does not trust what I say as a parent," Wheeler said.

His son said he never intended to blame his parents or make them look stupid, saying, "It came from a place of frustration and tried to tackle this problem and find common ground."

Lindenberger showed her parents of scientific studies showing that the vaccines were safe and effective, but her mother was not convinced.

"He was just afraid that he would take these vaccinations and have a bad reaction … I think a lot of people consider this a straightforward, black-and-white answer, and I do not feel like it," said Wheeler.

Lindenberger is 1

8 and in Ohio, she is old enough to take pictures without her parents' permission. In December, he was vaccinated for influenza, hepatitis, tetanus and HPV. The 16-year-old brother, who is now also considering his shots, will have to wait.

There is no federal law that requires the immunization of children, but only seven states and Washington D.C. allow minors to get vaccinations without parental consent.

"I am very proud of him for defending what he believes in, even if he is against what I believe. He is a good boy. He is a good boy," said Wheeler.

Anti-vaccination conspiracy theories often use pseudo-scientific language, which makes them powerful and enduring. As we have seen with the measles epidemic in Washington and Oregon, there is a very real risk when parents buy these half-truths, according to Dr. Tara Narula of CBS News.

Narula recommends that parents who have questions about vaccine safety should visit the website of the American Academy of Pediatrics and HealthyChildren.org, which has dozens of studies that dispel the common myths about vaccines. It also recommends consulting your health care provider.

For example, there is no evidence that autism is caused by the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and no evidence is caused by thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative sometimes used in vaccines. [19659016] © 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved.


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