Children of Anti-Vaccination Parents are Looking For Ways to Get Vaccinated
As we have written about in the past, there is a growing anti-vaccination movement in America associated with Andrew Wakefield, a now disgraced British physician and medical researcher known for his fraudulent study alleging a link between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and autism. Many of Wakefield's followers have not vaccinated their children, using state law exemptions which allow them to opt out of vaccination requirements based on religious, personal, moral, or philosophical reasons.
Market Watch: "The proportion of young kids who aren’t getting inoculations has roughly quadrupled over the past decade and a half, according to a recent CDC report. As a result, about 47,000 children (or 1.3%) born in 2015 hadn’t been vaccinated by 2017, compared with just 0.3% of kids in 2001 -- even though the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends routine vaccination by age 2 against “14 potentially serious illnesses,” including polio, the measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B and varicella."
The growing use of such exemptions is linked to recent measles outbreaks in ten states. And, those outbreaks have motivated some unvaccinated teens to look for ways to get the shots without their parents' approval.
The Cut: "Amid a growing number of entirely preventable disease outbreaks tied to low vaccination rates, the Washington Post reports that at least three teenagers raised by anti-vaxxers have turned to online forums, seeking advice regarding how they can obtain vaccines on their own. Because state laws regulate whether or not a minor can make medical decisions without their parents’ consent, though, this mission is far from a simple one. "
Most states require minors to have parent approval for medical treatment, but several, such as Washington state, allow “mature minors” to make their own medical decisions. But, many teens who don't know their legal options have turned to internet site Reddit for help.
Ethan Lindenberger, an unvaccinated 18-year-old started a Reddit thread three months ago requesting information about obtaining vaccines and it has now become a hub for unvaccinated teens seeking advice, including some minors. The thread now has more than 1000 responses and seems to be motivating others to act. And Lindenberger is helping other young people find the information they need.
Ethan Lindenberger via The Hill: “I definitely have received messages and I’ve had people contact me that are in a similar situation where they want to pursue vaccinations and their parent or authority figure doesn’t believe it’s right,” he said."
Like most conspiracy theories, the anti-vax movement will likely wane in the coming years, but until then, its good to have teenagers like Ethan Lindenberger around.