Tuesday, 17 September, 2019


Ohio teen got shots against his mother’s anti-vaccine beliefs

Screenshot  CSPAN Screenshot CSPAN
Patty Aguilar | 07 March, 2019, 22:24

Seven people have caught measles in Canterbury.

However, when a public health emergency was declared in Washington State after a measles outbreak, Lindenberger knew he had to act, reaching out to Reddit for advice on how to get immunised without his parents' involvement now he was of age. He gained attention for asking Reddit in November how to get vaccinated, noting his mother believes vaccines cause severe health side effects.

Without her approval, Lindenberger got himself inoculated against hepatitis, influenza, tetanus, human papillomavirus, polio, and measles, mumps and rubella.

"For certain individuals and organizations that spread this misinformation, they instill fear into the public for their own gain selfishly, and do so knowing that their information is incorrect", Lindenberger said. The movement has recently prompted renewed attention after measles outbreaks in Washington and OR, among other areas. In fact, teenagers in Canada have started going to doctors to ask to get vaccinated, and doctors have claimed that the number of teenagers getting vaccines has spiked up.

Vaccination against a list of diseases is required to attend school, but 17 states, including OH, allow some type of non-medical exemption for "personal, moral or other beliefs", according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

But nearly all states - 47 out of 50 - allow exemptions either on religious, moral, or personal grounds, including Lindenberger's state of Ohio.

He received thousands of responses, and the U.S. media came calling.

Canada's chief health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam also weighed in on this wave of later in life vaccinations saying "I don't think it's too late ever to get your measles immunization up to date".

He was soon invited to appear before a panel of senators, several of whom praised his persistence in seeking out the truth.

"I'd love to be a guest at your Thanksgiving dinner at your house", quipped Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican. "I applaud your critical thinking skills and your willingness to share your story", said the Virginia Democrat.

Ethan's mother did not testify. Lindenberger said he and his children have had "interesting conversations" lately about vaccines.

"If the nurse's aide is not immunized, she can be a Typhoid Mary, if you will, bringing disease to many who are immunocompromised", Cassidy said, adding that in a school setting, requirements may be in place to protect the health of students, including those who might have weakened immune systems and therefore cannot get immunized.

"I am more of a "yes" than I am a "no" now", said Lindenberger, who doesn't favor vaccinating babies and prefers that people educate themselves about vaccines.

Lindenberger said one of the main challenges now is to counter the online anti-vaccination sites that peddle conspiracy theories. "My mom reaffirmed that her position was correct because she knows people and she sees stories - but correlation doesn't equal causation".

In response, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest recently made headlines by announcing initiatives to reduce vaccine misinformation on their platforms.

The measles outbreaks aren't only causing concern in Washington, DC. Do they agree with him?

Some people attending the hearing, including anti-vaccine activists, were not convinced by Ethan's arguments.

Ethan Lindenberger is one of many children of anti-vaxxer parents who have sought online assistance once they began to doubt their parent's beliefs.

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