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Anti-vaxxer revolt grows on Reddit among teens

12 February 2019

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.

Ethan Lindenberger grew up in Norwalk, Ohio, with an anti-vaxxer mom who refused to get him his shots. You don't know what you're talking about.

For most of his life, Lindenberger thought it was normal for most kids not to get immunized, but about two years ago he began to see how the posts about vaccines his own mother was sharing on social media were risky.

The teenager made a decision to get vaccinated on his own after turning 18 when he was unable to convince his parents that vaccinations do not cause autism. "It's stupid and I've had countless arguments over the topic".

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

Two doses are 97 percent effective, and public health officials in Washington recommend that everyone who is unvaccinated or only received one get both shots to avoid contracting measles.

"So I went to the public health department in my local town and spoke to some of the people there", he told Fox and Friends, "and they were very kind and they gave me information".

"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.

According to The Washington Post, the percentage of children under the age of 2 who have never received vaccinations has quadrupled since 2001 in the U.S. While overall immunization rates remain high at the national level, there have been growing concerns among medical professionals that the upswing of the anti-vaxxer movement has created pockets of children who are more susceptible to diseases and pose major health risks to the public at large.

According to The Daily Mail, Wakefield published a study in 1995 in The Lancet that claimed children vaccinated against MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) were more likely to have autism. But Ethan Lindenberger has other concerns.

"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.

After he discovered that most people get vaccines, Ethan researched the issue, later offering his mother evidence he hoped would change her mind, including a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"There's a degree of feeling like, you know, he doesn't trust what I say as a parent", Wheeler said.

Another teen explained their concerns on the Internet message board earlier this year. I'd assume that I can get them on my own, but I've just never had a conversation with anyone about the subject.

Anti-vaxxer revolt grows on Reddit among teens