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Son defies mom, chooses to get vaccinated at 18: ‘God knows how I’m still alive’

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A measles outbreak is spreading across a Washington county known for choosing not to vaccinate its children, and health officials have declared a public health emergency.
USA TODAY

An Ohio teen who was never vaccinated for diseases as a child because of his parent’s decisions, is choosing to get the preventative shots now at 18.

Ethan Lindenberger of Norwalk, Ohio, reached out to Reddit users two months ago to ask if he could be vaccinated as an adult. 

“My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme … I’ve never been vaccinated for anything, God knows how I’m still alive,” he wrote. He asked “where do I go to get vaccinated? Can I get vaccinated at my age?”

He told Good Morning America on Tuesday that he never received vaccines for hepatitis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella or chickenpox. 

“I saw that there were a lot of people with different opinions, and as I explored those opinions, I came to the conclusion that they were good and beneficial,” Lindenberger told GMA.

His mother, Jill Wheeler, who has other children that are unvaccinated, told GMA she was in “shock” when she heard of her son’s decision.

Lindenberger has since received vaccines for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza and HPV, according to records obtained by The Washington Post

More: What to know about the measles outbreak, affecting over 50 in Washington anti-vaccination hot spot

People choosing not to vaccinate have become a global health threat in 2019, the World Health Organization reported. The CDC recognized that the number of children who aren’t being vaccinated by 24 months old has been gradually increasing.

More than 50 people, mostly unvaccinated children, have recently become infected with measles during a public health emergency in Clark County, Washington, a known anti-vaccination hot spot. The measles two-dose vaccine is 97 percent effective against the virus, according to the CDC. 

Friday, Washington lawmakers heard testimony on a bill that would remove parents’ ability to opt their school-age children out of the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. 

More: A quarter of all kindergartners in this county in Washington aren’t immunized. Now there’s a measles crisis

More: Roald Dahl’s heartbreaking letter on daughter’s measles death resonates amid Washington outbreak

More: Hundreds protest against Washington state vaccine bill that would require measles shots

Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets

 

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