Ethan said that his mom was convinced by inaccurate articles online that vaccines cause brain damage and autism, which is why she refrained from getting her kids vaccinated.
You know how you get a certain sense of freedom when you turn 18? You can vote and do a lot of things you couldn't do when you were a kid. Turning 18 means you legally become an adult and can make decisions yourself. That is exactly what it meant for Ethan Lindenberger, an 18-year-old teenager in Ohio. who decided to take his health into his own hands. He finally got his vaccinations — without his parents’ approval, reports People. Ethan was never vaccinated as a child because his parents thought that vaccinations were some kind of governmental scheme. The confused teen took to Reddit to seek help. His question was: "My parents are kind of stupid and don't believe in vaccines. Now that I'm 18, where do I go to get vaccinated? Can I get vaccinated at my age?" He continued: "It's stupid and I've had countless arguments over the topic. But, because of their beliefs I've never been vaccinated for anything, god knows how I'm still alive. But, I'm a senior in high school now with a car, a license, and money of my own. I'd assume that I can get them on my own but I've just never had a conversation with anyone about the subject. "
He was confused about what exactly had to be done and how he had to go about it, considering he was 18 and had never had a vaccination before. "I'm also afraid I'd go somewhere that up charges vaccines way more than somewhere just down the street. Any advice would be awesome," he'd said. He added that it was more a matter of where does he go to get vaccines. Ethan also added that his mom was quite upset and angry with him when he told them that he had decided to get his shots, but his father did not really care about it because he had turned 18 and it was now his decision to make. " I know that this is something I need to do regardless," he added. He told NPR that his mom, Jill Wheeler, was convinced by inaccurate articles online that vaccines cause brain damage and autism, something the Centers for Disease Control has clearly mentioned has no connection whatsoever with either condition.
It was also revealed that Wheeler had her oldest daughter fully vaccinated and her eldest son has some of his vaccinations. But that is when she learned that Wheeler could opt out of vaccines for her kids, so she withheld vaccinations from Ethan and his four younger siblings! Ethan said that for most of his life, he believed Wheeler’s insistence on non-vaccinating was normal.
But then the adults at his school kept telling him that he should get his vaccines. When he asked his friends about this, he realized that he was the only one without these vaccinations. Everyone around him had had their shots on time. “When I started looking into it myself, it became very apparent that there was a lot more evidence in defense of vaccinations, in their favor,” said Ethan.
He said that he tried showing his mom the study by CDC, but her response was simply - "That’s what they want you to think.” He said, “I was just blown away that, you know, the largest health organization in the entire world would be written off with a conspiracy theory-like statement like that.”
Recently, there was a major measles outbreak in the US, which affected a large group of unvaccinated children all across the country!
According to the World Health Organization, anti-vaxxers are among the top 10 health threats facing the world in 2019. It is also known as vaccine hesitancy, which means the 'reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccinates'. Ethan just wants to get his usual vaccinations — measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), chickenpox and polio. With help and advice from Reddit and his pastor, Ethan recently got the HPV vaccinations and the flu shot and has more shots scheduled for later.
But his mom Jill Wheeler told Undark that Ethan's decision to get vaccinated felt like a slap on her face. “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,’ ” she said. But Ethan found it comforting that his dad had quite a different approach to it than his mom. “Hey, you’re 18, you can do what you want and we can’t really stop you,” said Ethan's dad.
Jill Wheeler added that after watching Ethan get vaccinated, she will now talk to her younger kids now. “It has opened my eyes to say ‘I better educate them now. Not wait until they’re 18,’ " she said. “But I need to start educating my 16-year-old, and my 14-year-old now, saying this is why I don’t believe in it.”
Ethan also added that his 16-year-old brother intends to follow his lead and get vaccinated when he turns 18, but his 14-year-old sister sides with their mom. According to The Washington Post, he also has a 2-year-old sister, whose age exposes her to numerous infectious health risks. “It breaks my heart that she could get measles and she’d be done,” Ethan said.