We’re living in strange times, where parents go out and protest for their right to subject their children to painful and life-threatening preventable diseases, and their children are forced to sneak around behind their parents’ backs in order to protect their own lives.
One such teenager, Ethan Lindenberger from Ohio, asked for help from the Internet on how to get vaccinated after his parents refused to do so when he was growing up.
“My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme,” he explained on Reddit. “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. Any advice would be awesome.”
His mother, Jill Wheeler, mistakenly believes that vaccines cause autism, likely due to a comprehensively discredited study by a doctor who was struck off the medical register for serious professional misconduct over how he carried out the study.
Without her knowledge and after receiving advice from Reddit, Ethan went to get the immunizations when he was 18 and legal to do so, only telling his parents afterward. They weren’t pleased, especially after his post blew up and they read what he’d said about them online.
“I did not immunize him because I felt it was the best way to protect him and keep him safe,” Wheeler told Undark, adding that his decision to get immunized was “a slap in the face.”
“I love my mom, but she’s crazy,” Ethan wrote on Reddit after the Undark article received a lot of attention. “Her radical and unscientific views put my siblings at risk. I don’t care if she looks bad in an article or online because it IS bad to not keep your children safe […] I’m glad to share my story, despite her backlash.”
“If I get whooping cough I may be able to handle it because I’m older and I have a good immune system,” he expanded in an interview with BBC News. “But who’s to say I don’t cough on my two-year-old sister? That’s an extremely scary thought.”
He went on to do a series of interviews about his decision.
However, he clarified that he didn’t blame his parents, and regretted the harsh language he had used.
“I had to apologise for some of the stuff I said on Reddit, where I said she was irrational, crazy, dumb – because I was upset,” he told BBC News. “I didn’t expect to be in the public eye and having to protect my mum. It’s not fair to her… she has done her own research.”
If you’re in a similar position to Ethan, you can look here for further information on how to get vaccinated in the US. In certain states, it is possible to get vaccinated before you turn 18.