Tags: ethan lindenberger | vaccines | health

Overcoming a Childhood With Anti-Vaxxers

Overcoming a Childhood With Anti-Vaxxers
Ethan Lindenberger, a student at Norwalk High School in Norwalk, Ohio, who confided in a now-viral Reddit post that he had not been fully vaccinated due to his mother's belief that vaccines are dangerous, speaks before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on March 5, 2019. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

By with Michael R. Shannon
Saturday, 09 March 2019 12:02 PM Current | Bio | Archive

As a rule, this column is very strong on children obeying their parents and equally strongly opposed to children defying the wishes of their parents. In the vast majority of cases that is sound advice, but what happens when the parents are dead wrong and their mistaken belief can endanger others?

Obviously, that becomes a case that merits an exception to the rule. Which brings us to 18-year-old Ethan Lindenberger of Norwalk, Ohio. In an interview with NPR Ethan discussed his transformation from obedient child of anti-vaccine parents to mildly rebellious and inoculated public-spirited citizen.

Ethan told NPR that as a child he depended on his mother’s ideology and dumb luck to protect him from measles, rubella, mumps, hepatitis, and other diseases since mom was opposed to inoculations for disease.

He went through life thinking it was perfectly normal to live a medical childhood based in the 17th Century while the rest of the world was in the 21st.

That began to change slowly as school administrators noticed his lack of vaccinations and discussed it with him. As he talked with his friends, Ethan discovered all of them had been vaccinated.

This caused some internal problems. As NPR found, “Growing up, Lindenberger said he listened to what his mom told him about how vaccines were bad and carried negative side effects. He thought it was normal to not receive vaccines.”

Then Ethan took a mature approach and started researching the issue on his own, “When I started looking into it myself, it became very apparent that there was a lot more evidence in defense of vaccinations, in their favor.”

He presented his research to his mom and made the case for belatedly getting his shots. “Her response was simply '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.”

In spite of repeated attempts to change his mother’s mind, she remained adamant in her opposition to modern medicine. Reluctantly, Ethan decided when he became 18, he would start the process of getting vaccinated on his own.

NPR reports, “Lindenberger recently received his first round of shots — for diseases such as HPV, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and influenza.” This was not a popular decision at home. “My mom had always known I disagreed with her and figured that was going to pass, but it didn't," he said. "She looked at it as me getting vaccines for a gesture of rebellion and not for my own sake and for the sake of people around me.”

Well, yes. Getting vaccinated to prevent the spread of disease is an important part of good citizenship.

His mother continues to attempt to persuade Ethan to forego getting the rest of his shots, but he remains confident in his research and will continue.

Ethan once wrote online after considering all the years he had gone without inoculations, “God knows how I'm still alive.” Fortunately, he is still alive and from all appearances remains a good son. We think before it’s all over his parents will agree, too.

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

   
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In an interview with NPR Ethan discussed his transformation from obedient child of anti-vaccine parents to mildly rebellious and inoculated public-spirited citizen.
ethan lindenberger, vaccines, health
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2019-02-09
Saturday, 09 March 2019 12:02 PM
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