Kids Go Against Anti-Vax parents

Lauren Mitchell, OwlFeed Editor-In-Chief

When Ethan Lindenberger turned 18, he turned to his church pastor to learn how to get vaccinated against his mother’s beliefs.

Photo Credit: Healthy Topics

He is not alone. Many other teens are seeking to find vaccinations without their parents approval.

“My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme,” Lindenberger said on Reddit about a year ago, before getting a vaccination. “But, because of their beliefs I’ve never been vaccinated for anything, God knows how I’m still alive.”

The reason behind his mother’s decision is, like many other parents, in the 1990s it was claimed that there was a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. In a recent story, I covered all the reasons why people are not vaccinating their kids, you can read it here.

At first he asked the Reddit Forum for help on which vaccines he should get since he had never gotten any. Then he consulted with his pastor and in December of last year, he got vaccines for Hepatitis A and B, Influenza, and HPV in the department of health office in Norwalk, Ohio.

“It was like him spitting on me, saying ‘You don’t know anything, I don’t trust you with anything. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You did make a bad decision and I’m gonna go fix it’,” Lindenberger’s mother said to after hearing what her son did. It felt like a “slap in the face.”

With his 2-year-old sister and his three other younger siblings unvaccinated, he fears for them. Based on his littlest sister’s age, she is much more exposed to infectious health risks. “It breaks my heart that she could get measles and she’d be done,” he said.

Another teenager on Reddit, whose name is unknown, is 15 from Minnesota, and also asked for help on getting vaccinated except they are underage. They wanted help changing state laws to get vaccinated without their parents’ consent.

Lindenberger has pushed teenagers and adults to get vaccinated. As well as, advocating for states to lower the age of consent for vaccinations instead of stricter immunization laws so that kids like himself and the other Reddit user can protect themselves.

At the same time during these two incidents, Washington state declared a public emergency after the measles outbreak infecting at least 56 people. Four more cases have been discovered in Oregon, and another in Seattle.

Measles is a potentially deadly disease for children, and with one fourth of kindergarteners in Clark County, Washington, unvaccinated, and the measles outbreak spreading, parents are afraid for their children’s lives. One mother even said she is not going to take her 11-month-old out in public, until he turns 1 and can get the vaccine.

In both Washington and Oregon, children can go to school unvaccinated because of personal beliefs. These states are among 17 others who have these laws. In both of the two states, however, they are considering changing those laws.

“When you have large numbers of unimmunized people and you introduce measles into that population, it’s like putting a lighted match into a can of gasoline,” said Alan Melnick, Clark County’s public health director. “It will just spread pretty quickly.”

With measles outbreaks and kids unvaccinated, the illness has spread, and it makes sense why teenagers are panicking to get their vaccines so they don’t get sick too.