Teen defies anti-vaccine parents, gets shots

Number of people with measles tripled in Europe in 2018, WHO says

Washington state has become a battleground between anti-vaccine groups pushing for relaxed regulations and concerned parents watching a measles outbreak strike the Pacific Northwest, a well-documented anti-vaccination refuge.

Ethan Lindenberger grew up in Norwalk, Ohio, with an anti-vaxxer mom who refused to get him his shots. Wheeler told Undark her son's decision to get vaccinated was a "a slap in the face". "I had grown up hearing that and when I started to move on to social media, you know, 13, 14, there was very online heated debate. You did make a bad decision and I'm gonna go fix it'".

As the worst measles outbreak in NY state in decades rages on, health officials have launched an "aggressive, multi-pronged" attack against the disease that has sickened more than 200 people in five months.

Lindenberger said he listened to what his mother told him about vaccines while growing up and believed it was common practice.

Many parents decide not to vaccinate their children for philosophical or religious reasons.

But it wasn't until speaking with friends that he realized he was the only one out of his peer group to not have had the life-saving vaccinations.

Meanwhile, children across the United States are at increasing risk of contracting diseases because of parents refusing to get their children vaccinated.

Mounting distrust has led some parents to not immunize their children, in turn leading to outbreaks of diseases not seen in years, such as measles, whooping cough and mumps.

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Experts at the Central Racine County Health Department say vaccines are useful and necessary, yet there are schools in the county with immunization rates low enough to be considered risky.

According to an investigation by KREM-TV, teens under the age of majority are generally prohibited from obtaining shots without their parents' permission in the U.S. There are, however, some exceptions under what is referred to as the "mature minor doctrine", where teens who can prove a certain level of independence such as being emancipated or pregnant, for instance - and are able to find a health care provider willing to give them the shots knowing they could be sued.

'But the diseases we developed vaccines for - like polio, which killed or crippled thousands of children - were selected precisely because they're so severe'. "There's nothing that's going to change my mind on this on that specific vaccination", said mother Monique Murray. He told NPR that his mother remained defiant, saying, "That's what they want you to think".

'I was just blown away that you know, the largest health organization in the entire world would be written off with a kind of conspiracy theory-like statement like that'.

Ethan Lindenberger from OH is used to having arguments with his mother, like all teenagers are. "I turned to Reddit to receive advice on where to go to receive my vaccinations".

"God knows how I'm still alive", Lindenberger wrote in a post on Reddit in November.

A few months ago, Lindenberger, who's from OH, sought help on Reddit. In December, he got vaccinated for influenza, hepatitis, tetanus and HPV.

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