February 15, 2019
18-year-old Ethan Lindenberger decides to go against the will of his parents to get himself vaccinated against several diseases.
The teenager had not received any vaccine prior to this because of the anti-vaccine beliefs of his mother, Jill Wheeler. She stopped the vaccination of Lindenberger as well as other four of her children’s after being influenced by online misinformation.
Wheeler is one of those many parents who falsely believe that vaccines are linked with autism. Some parents even believe that vaccines may cause brain damage.
Despite CDC’s regular attempt at stopping such rumors, they have spread all over America creating a problem for many children, who are in dire need of getting vaccinated.
Last year, Lindenberger himself admitted via a Reddit post, “God knows how I’m still alive.” He also asked for suggestions regarding how to get vaccinated.
He never knew about getting vaccinated even while growing up because he mostly listened to his mother’s advice about the negative side effects of vaccines. For him, not receiving the vaccine was normal.
Eventually, Lindenberger learned in his school that most of his friends were vaccinated. He was also instructed by his teachers to himself get a shot of flu.
Following the incident, he questioned his mother’s beliefs for the first time and started research of his own into the topic.
"When I started looking into it myself, it became very apparent that there was a lot more evidence in defense of vaccinations, in their favor.”
Ethan Lindenberger, NPR, January 16, 2019
After knowing more about vaccinations, Lindenberger also tried to educate his own mother. He showed her an article revealing that vaccines do not cause autism.
However, his mother negated the fact provided by the CDC itself and simply responded back to him, “that’s what they want you to think.”
Although he could change his mother’s mind, he is now confident about his own decision. He has now taken his first round of shots for diseases including HPV, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and influenza.