“I’ve never been vaccinated for anything, god knows how I’m still alive.”
Ethan Lindenberger, a teen from Ohio, has gone viral (no pun intended) after he got “vaccinated for everything” shortly after his 18th birthday.
According to Ethan, he’s never received any vaccinations for measles, hepatitis, mumps, and polio, among others. It’s all because his parents are anti-vaxxers who believe in conspiracy theories that claim vaccines cause autism and brain damage (psst, they don’t).
So, looking to get vaccinated, he sought more information on Reddit. He wrote: “My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme.
“But, because of their beliefs I’ve never been vaccinated for anything, god knows how I’m still alive.”
"I've never been vaccinated for anything, God knows how I'm still alive." An Ohio 18-year-old went against his anti-vaxx mother's beliefs and fought to get vaccinated when he turned 18. @LinseyDavis reports. https://t.co/7uPNW231Zv pic.twitter.com/P8IFBev1rv
— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 12, 2019
After turning 18 in December, which made him old enough to get vaccines without his parents’ consent, he got his first round of shots for diseases like hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, and HPV.
Ethan’s decision to get vaccinated, of course, didn’t sit well with his mum, Jill Wheeler. In an interview with science magazine Undark, she said that it was akin to “a slap in the 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’.”
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) February 7, 2019
— Gates Foundation (@gatesfoundation) February 7, 2019
My mother contracted #measles in her pregnancy with me.
I am profoundly deaf, but my eyesight & brain are unaffected. I am one of the lucky ones. #Measles kills & causes permanent disability.
— Helen Grote (@helengrote) February 10, 2019
Ethan, however, isn’t fazed and will continue getting vaccinations later this month.
“My mom had always known I disagreed with her and figured that was going to pass, but it didn’t. When I started looking into it myself, it became very apparent that there was a lot more evidence in defense of vaccinations, in their favour.
“Her response was simply ‘that’s what they want you to think’. I was just blown away that you know, the largest health organisation in the entire world would be written off with a kind of conspiracy theory-like statement like that.”