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Ohio Teen Chooses to Vaccinate Himself Despite Parents’ Objections: ‘God Knows How I’m Still Alive’

2 minute read

An Ohio teen who turned to the popular online forum Reddit for medical advice said he finally got vaccinated at age 18 despite objections from his parents.

Two months ago, Norwalk, Ohio resident Ethan Lindenberger submitted a question onto the r/NoStupidQuestions subreddit asking where he could go to get vaccinated and if it was possible to do so at age 18.

The post, My parents are kind of stupid and don’t believe in vaccines. Now that I’m 18, where do I go to get vaccinated? Can I get vaccinated at my age? got over 1,000 responses and thousands of upvotes. In the post, Lindenberger asked for practical advice on how to begin the vaccination process, and said he had never spoken to anyone about it.

“My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme,” Lindenberger posted. “It’s stupid and I’ve had countless arguments over the topic. But, because of their beliefs I’ve never been vaccinated for anything, god knows how I’m still alive.”

The anti-vaxxer movement is under scrutiny following a recent measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest, where 40 cases have been confirmed, mostly in children under the age of 10. Many anti-vaxxer parents believe there is a link between vaccinations and autism, despite voluminous research that disputes this claim.

On Monday, Lindenberger appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper Full Circle and said that despite not getting vaccinated, he never contracted chickenpox or measles. He also told guest host John Berman that once he was finally a legal adult he decided to get vaccinated, whether or not his parents approved.

“Once I turned 18 I said, ‘You know, even though we disagree, still I’m going to pursue vaccinations,’ ” Lindenberger said when asked how he explained his decision to his parents. “I was doing it for my safety and the safety of others.”

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Write to Gina Martinez at gina.martinez@time.com