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Ohio teen defies mother and gets vaccinated after turning to strangers online



Disproven and doubtful theories about the safety of childhood vaccines are pitting an Ohio mother against her teenage son. High school senior Ethan Lindenberger recently defied his mother and got vaccinated, saying his parents' misguided beliefs put his health and health of his younger siblings at risk

Lindenberger thought it was normal for most "I question her judgment, but not her care," he said. "It's a good idea," he said. "You have something like measles, which is a preventable disease that we can vaccinate against that and many people think it is coming back because of opinions like those that have influenced my mom."

In November, Lindenberger asked strangers on Reddit , an online message board where he could get to date with his shots. "My parents are kind of stupid," he wrote. "God knows how I'm still alive."

His mother, Jill Wheeler, said she was blown away when she found out

"There's a degree of feeling like, you know, he does not trust what I say as a parent, "Wheeler said.

Her son said it was never his intention to blame his parents or make them look dumb, saying, "That came from a place of frustration and trying to deal with this issue and find common ground."

Lindenberger showed his parents scientific studies showing that vaccines were safe and effective, but his mother remained unconvinced

"I think a lot of people look at this as a straight, black and white answer, and I do not feel like it is," Wheeler said.

Lindenberger is 1

8 and in Ohio, he's old enough to get his shots without his parents' permission. In December, he was vaccinated for influenza, hepatitis, tetanus and HPV. His 16-year-old brother, who is now considering taking his shots, will have to wait

There is no federal law mandating children to be immunized but only seven states and Washington D.C. allow minors to get vaccinations without parental consent.

"I'm very proud of him, for standing for what he believes in, even if it's against what I think." He's a good kid, "Wheeler said.

Anti-vaccine conspiracy theories often use pseudo-scientific language, which makes them potent and enduring. As we've seen with the measles outbreak in Washington and Oregon, there is a very real risk when parents buy into those half-truths, according to CBS News' Dr. Tara Narula.

Narula recommends that parents who have questions about vaccine safety should visit the American Academy of Pediatrics and HealthyChildren.org, which has dozens of studies debugging common myths about vaccines. She also recommends consulting with your healthcare provider

For example, there is no evidence that autism is caused by the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and no evidence that it is caused by thimerosal, and mercury-based preservatives sometimes used in vaccines. ] © 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
          


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