More parents are deciding to either fully withhold vaccinations or delay them, but once children are able to decide for themselves, do they remain unvaccinated, or do they get the treatments?
One Ohio teen went to Reddit to ask advice on how to get vaccines.
Ethan Lindenberger, 18, asked fellow Redditors the question last year, saying, “My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme. But, because of their beliefs I’ve never been vaccinated for anything, god knows how I’m still alive.”
The Washington Post found Lindenberger is not alone. Teens are now seeking out vaccines on their own, going against their parents’ decisions.
Lindenberger started researching medical reports, and presented the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as evidence to his parents as he tried to persuade his mother to allow him and his four younger brothers and sisters to get vaccinated, the Post reported.
Lindenberger said his mother, Jill Wheeler, made the decision not to vaccinate her children after hearing about a now-debunked study that linked autism with vaccinations, according to the Post.
When Wheeler wouldn’t relent, Lindenberger turned to his church pastor, who told him he was allowed to legally to make his own decision.
In December, Lindenberger, went to an Ohio Department of Health office and got the vaccines he had been missing -- hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza and HPV, the Post reported.
According to his childhood health record, he had been vaccinated for tetanus and hepatitis B when he was 2 years old. His mother confirmed the tetanus shot after he had cut himself, but claimed the hepatitis B shot was a mistake of paperwork, she told the online science magazine, Undark.
The debate over vaccinations has been resurrected since an outbreak of measles started in Washington. Doctors have treated more than 50 people in Washington and Oregon and a health emergency has been declared in Clark County, Washington, KIRO and its news partner MyNorthwest, have reported.
According to the report, Washington is one of 18 states allowing personal vaccination exemptions. It also allows medical and religious exemptions. A bill has been introduced that will do away with the exceptions for the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccination, except for those with legitimate medical or religious reasons.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are no side effects for most children when it comes to the MMR vaccination. If there is a reaction, normally, it is mild and could present as a fever, rash, soreness or swelling where the shot was administered. The CDC says there is no link between MMR shots and autism.
Doctors recommend all children get the MMR shot in two doses -- one from 12 through 15 months and a second between 4 and 6 years of age.