Anti-vaxxer revolt grows on Reddit among teens

Modesto Morganelli
Febbraio 12, 2019

Lindenberger showed his mother an article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about how vaccines don't cause autism, but it did little to change her mind. Now that he is a legal adult, he has gotten vaccinations for HPV, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and influenza. Ethan had no idea that he was an outlier among his friends until he spoke to them and discovered that he was the only one who hadn't been vaccinated.

"I have a two-year-old sister and five-year-old brother and due to their age and vaccines can prevent them from getting a disease that's preventable, I do worry about them", said Lindenberger.

"My 16-year-old says, you know, 'I haven't made a concrete decision; I'm not sure what I believe or what I want.' My 14-year-old is saying, 'I believe what you believe, mom, '" she continued. "You did make a bad decision and I'm gonna go fix it'".

"I, as well as my siblings, hold the ideology that vaccines are a public health issue, and a personal responsibility to the benefit of the population, not a right you can revoke from your children", the teenager wrote. In Italy, where the current governing coalition had pledged to drop a law banning children without vaccination from starting pre-school (the coalition has since reversed its position), health officials have declared a 'measles emergency, ' as nearly one quarter of all measles cases in Europe in 2017 were reported in Italy.

At the end of January, Washington state declared a public emergency after a measles outbreak that has infected at least 53 people, primarily children.

"I am writing because I am the 15-year-old son of an anti-vaccine parent", reads a plea posted on Reddit four months ago.

Yet before the push for eradicating polio worldwide began in 1988, 350,000 children were paralyzed by polio each year, while according to the World Health Organization, in 2018, there were barely 100 cases of vaccine-derived polio in the entire world. He says he regrets insulting the intelligence of his parents in the original Reddit post and urges other teenagers to be transparent and positive with parents when seeking permission to immunize. "This means that gaps at local level still offer an open door to the virus", says Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, Director of the WHO's Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen. But, according to NPR, when she found out she could opt out of immunizations, she didn't vaccinate her youngest five children, including Lindenberger.

Vancouver Coastal Health is insisting a public advisory isn't necessary and there is no risk to the public.

"It breaks my heart that she could get measles and she'd be done", Lindenberger said.

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