Theories about the safety of childhood vaccines are pitting an Ohio mom and her son, CBS NEWS reports.
Ethan Lindenberger, 18, recently defied his mother and got vaccinated, saying his parents’ misguided beliefs put his health, and the health of his younger siblings, at risk.
Lindenberger says when he was younger he thought it was normal for most kids not to get immunized, but about two years ago he began to see how the posts about vaccines his own mother was sharing on social media were dangerous.
“I question her judgment, but not her care,” he told CBS. “You have something like measles, which is a preventable disease that we can vaccinate against that I and many people believe is coming back because of opinions like the ones that have influenced my mom.”
In November, the teen turned to the social network Reddit, asking where he could go as a young adult to get up to date with his shots.
“My parents are kind of stupid,” he wrote on Reddit. “God knows how I’m still alive.”
Lindenberger says he showed his parents scientific studies that showed vaccines were safe and effective, but his mother remained unconvinced.
“It was just straight up fear of him getting these immunizations and having a bad reaction … I think a lot of people look at this as a straight, black and white answer, and I don’t feel like it is,” Wheeler said.
Lindenberger is 18 and in Ohio, he’s old enough to get shots without his parents’ permission. In December, he got vaccinated for influenza, hepatitis, tetanus and HPV. His 16-year-old brother, who is now considering also getting his shots, will have to wait.
There is no federal law mandating children be immunized but only seven states and Washington D.C. allow minors to get vaccinations without parental consent.