A teenager whose post on Reddit looking for answers on how to vaccinate went viral explained why he challenged his mother's anti-vaccination convictions, stating that his decision was not "out of spite" but based on science.
Ethan Lindenberger, an 18-year-old from high school in Ohio, said he began to fear for his health after reading scientific articles on the benefits of vaccinations.
"I had grown up feeling that I was not vaccinated because it was better for me, and that it was healthy and that the vaccines were bad and that they have these negative side effects," Lindenberger told ABC's "Good Morning America" In an interview broadcast Tuesday.
He continued: "I saw that there were many people with different opinions, and while I was exploring those opinions, I came to the conclusion that they were good and beneficial. … There is a difference that distinguishes between the disagreement with a parent and the attempt to disobey with them out of spite. "
His mother, Jill Wheeler, vaccinated her eldest daughter and eldest son, but refused to do the same for five younger children, including Lindenberger, when he realized that he was not obliged to do so by law.
Ohio is one of 17 states where parents can renounce vaccinating their children for philosophical reasons All but three states – California, Mississippi and West Virginia – allow parents to renounce for religious reasons, and all 50 states grant exemptions for medical reasons
Wheeler said he believes injections pose a risk for health, but the Centers for Control the and the Prevention (CDC), which are part of the Department of Health and Human Services, affirm serious side effects very rare. Most vaccinations are extremely effective. For example, two doses of the measles vaccine are effective at 97%, according to the CDC.
Lindenberger first received advice on how and where to be vaccinated in a Reddit post on November 16, 2018.
Parents think vaccines are a kind of government scheme, "he wrote at the time." It's stupid. and I had countless topics on the subject. But because of their beliefs, I've never been vaccinated for anything, god knows how I'm still alive. "
The post collected over 1,000 comments, including from people who identified themselves as health workers and provided information on how
Just over a month later, Lindenberger received vaccines against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza and HPV in an office in the Ohio Department of Heath, reported The Washington Post.
Wheeler told the online scientific journal Undark that the his son's decision seemed like a "slap in the face."
"It was like spitting on me," he said, "saying" You do not know anything, I do not trust anything. You do not know what you're talking about. You made a wrong decision and I'm going to fix it. & # 39; "
Lindenberger said there are many other adolescents with anti-vaxx parents looking for answers on how to get vaccinated. At least seven states have adopted the mature lower doctrine, a legal concept that allows emancipated minors of "sufficient intelligence" to petition to make their medical decisions.
"I've definitely received messages and I've had people who contact me are in a similar situation where they want to pursue immunizations and their parental or authority figure does not believe it's right," he told ABC.
Meanwhile, a measles epidemic among the anti-vaxx communities in New York and Washington has many doctors involved.
"The fact is that this would never happen if all those children were immunized, or even if most of them had been immunized," John Lynch, director of infection control at Harborview Medical Center of the University of Washington, HuffPost said last month. "Being vaccinated provides a lot a good protection against measles."