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Teen gets vaccinated despite parents' concerns: 'I was doing it for my safety and the safety of others'

Ohio resident Ethan Lindenberger says he got himself vaccinated despite his mother's objection after he turned 18. In a popular Reddit post, he said he was never vaccinated as a child due to his parents' belief in discredited conspiracy theories.

Posted: Feb 12, 2019 12:06 PM
Updated: Feb 12, 2019 2:30 PM


Ethan Lindenberger grew up thinking that not being vaccinated was normal.

Now 18, the Ohio resident never got a flu shot or the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine as a boy. He never had the experience of going to the pediatrician, getting pricked in the arm with a needle and then receiving a lollipop or ice cream cone afterward.

'I had grown up with my mom being very staunch and open about her position against vaccines,' Lindenberger told CNN's John Berman on 'Anderson Cooper Full Circle' on Monday night.

'As I became a teenager and looked into it and decided that the evidence supported vaccines by and large, and that the evidence that they cause autism and brain damage and other misinformed statements weren't true,' he said.

As soon as Lindenberger became a legal adult, he said, he decided to get vaccinated despite his parents' objections.

'Once I turned 18, I said, 'you know, even though we disagree, still I'm going to pursue vaccinations,' ' he said.

In a popular Reddit post in November, he sought information about how to get his first vaccines.

The post begins with 'my parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme' and goes on to ask where can he go to get certain vaccinations. About a month later, the post was updated to announce that he got his vaccines.

'I grew up not knowing that you go to the health department and get a shot in your shoulder in your upper arm for a bunch of really big diseases that could have a lot of really bad side effects and a lot of bad implications. So I turned to Reddit and said, 'where do I go to get vaccinated?' ... And so through that, I got some good answers,' Lindenberger said.

As a child, Lindenberger said, he had the flu but never contracted chickenpox, measles or similar diseases for which he could have been immunized.

His journey to get vaccinated, however, stemmed from him wanting to protect others against diseases as much as himself. He and his parents have agreed to disagree on the issue.

'I was doing it for my safety and the safety of others,' he said. 'My parents are very happy that I'm continuing to express that the importance of a vaccine is beyond just me and other people, and I'm glad to share that story.'

Lindenberger has younger siblings, and he said that he hopes they get vaccinated.

'Obviously, it scares me a little bit, but I'm going to try and do my best to convince my parents that they should and hope that works,' he said.

Lindenberger's decision to get vaccinated comes as the percentage of young children in the United States who have received no vaccines continues to rise.

A report published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in October showed that while coverage for a number of vaccines 'remained high and stable overall,' the segment of unvaccinated kids under 2 rose from 0.9% for those born in 2011 to 1.3% for those born in 2015. In 2001, only 0.3% of kids between 19 and 35 months had received no vaccine doses.

'Although the number of children who have received no vaccinations by age 24 months has been gradually increasing, most children are still routinely vaccinated,' wrote the authors from the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. 'Continued evaluation of prevalence and reasons for nonvaccination is needed, as are improvements in access to and delivery of age-appropriate vaccinations to all children.'

In general, each state has its own laws regarding whether a minor may consent to health care, including immunizations, Allison Winnike, president and chief executive officer of the vaccine advocacy group The Immunization Partnership, wrote in an email Tuesday.

'Across the U.S., minors generally cannot consent to their own health care; however, there are several federal and state laws that permit a minor to consent to his or her own medical treatment in specific circumstances, but it does not usually include immunizations. Generally, a minor may not consent to immunizations unless they are considered a 'mature minor,' that is, legally emancipated from their parents,' Winnike wrote.

'Generally the parent is the final health care decision maker for the minor,' she said.

'Vaccines save lives and are safe and effective. Vaccines are one of the top 10 public health achievements of the last century for the number of lives they've saved. In fact, vaccines are a victim of their own success; so many diseases have been eliminated or eradicated by vaccines that we no longer see the daily heartache of loved ones dying from what were common illnesses like polio, smallpox, and measles. When we don't see the devastation caused by vaccine-preventable diseases on a daily basis, some people discount the vital need to keep their families safe by vaccinating them.'

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 611039

Reported Deaths: 9716
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion844351336
Lake45508685
Allen32891552
Hamilton29546315
St. Joseph27449381
Elkhart24440345
Vanderburgh19513250
Tippecanoe18043140
Johnson15140295
Porter14865169
Hendricks14440248
Madison11009222
Vigo10769181
Clark10731144
Monroe9424113
Delaware9152134
LaPorte9103164
Howard8268144
Kosciusko808983
Warrick676599
Hancock6741104
Bartholomew6523100
Floyd6469110
Wayne6157162
Grant6011116
Dubois556980
Boone554668
Morgan545795
Henry509764
Marshall505384
Cass485264
Dearborn483245
Noble474059
Jackson426747
Shelby419581
Lawrence392980
Clinton374243
Gibson372559
Harrison350945
DeKalb348264
Montgomery346554
Knox335839
Miami323044
Steuben314545
Whitley309726
Wabash304551
Adams302136
Ripley300046
Putnam297850
Huntington293159
Jasper290534
White274143
Daviess271274
Jefferson264738
Decatur248983
Fayette247848
Greene241162
Posey240328
Wells236451
LaGrange229662
Scott225739
Clay223532
Randolph214948
Jennings199336
Sullivan192933
Spencer192422
Washington187523
Fountain184627
Starke175643
Jay168223
Owen166837
Fulton164230
Orange160835
Carroll159115
Rush155818
Perry155229
Vermillion149334
Franklin149033
Tipton133033
Parke13088
Pike118226
Blackford111422
Pulaski97337
Newton91721
Brown88235
Benton86910
Crawford8069
Martin74413
Warren6857
Switzerland6665
Union6287
Ohio4957
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 864322

Reported Deaths: 10711
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101705707
Cuyahoga860661145
Hamilton64392448
Montgomery43309418
Summit35063761
Lucas31500625
Butler31128232
Stark25933435
Warren19746141
Lorain19165223
Mahoning17383338
Lake16178154
Clermont16057111
Delaware1445479
Licking13274137
Fairfield1287781
Trumbull12861316
Greene12114139
Medina11666168
Clark10995265
Wood10407158
Allen9945126
Portage9382109
Miami921073
Richland9186118
Marion7467113
Tuscarawas7410182
Columbiana7356124
Pickaway728450
Wayne7080171
Muskingum705241
Erie6188129
Hancock554390
Ross5532100
Scioto541664
Geauga513555
Darke471092
Lawrence457958
Ashtabula454673
Union454628
Sandusky438562
Mercer434489
Seneca431566
Huron430041
Auglaize423064
Shelby421922
Jefferson420569
Belmont417740
Washington391840
Athens38129
Putnam376275
Madison356529
Knox354422
Ashland347438
Fulton339343
Defiance332286
Crawford323874
Preble321437
Brown313921
Logan309132
Ottawa294943
Clinton290743
Williams279467
Highland276718
Jackson265345
Guernsey256326
Champaign252628
Fayette237330
Morrow23334
Perry232018
Holmes225674
Henry220149
Hardin214033
Coshocton205722
Van Wert202645
Gallia198826
Wyandot196151
Pike177417
Adams176915
Hocking172624
Carroll156216
Paulding144721
Noble120740
Meigs109024
Monroe101032
Harrison89421
Morgan83430
Vinton70813
Unassigned00
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