Ethan Lindenberger, a resident of Norwalk, Ohio, attended a Reddit forum two months ago explaining that he had never received any vaccines and asking if you could get vaccinated as an adult. "My parents think vaccines are some kind of government plot … I've never vaccinated anything, I do not know how I'm still alive," he wrote in a post that quickly went viral and captured media attention.
As explained in the program Good Morning America, ABC television, as a child had not received any vaccine, not even the most common as hepatitis, polio or measles. "I saw that there were many people with different opinions, and when I explored those opinions I came to the conclusion that they were good and beneficial," he said. "I grew up hearing that I was not vaccinated because it was the best thing for me, that it was healthy and that vaccines were bad because they had side effects."
The young man was interested in vaccines not only for him. "I did it for my own safety and that of others," he said.
His mother, Jill Wheeler, who has other unvaccinated children, confessed to being "shocked" by hearing her son's decision. In most states it is necessary for minors to have parental permission for medical procedures, but in seven states there is a new legal concept that allows adolescents to make their own medical decisions.
Ohio is one of 17 states in which parents can claim "philosophical reasons" for not vaccinating their children. All states except three (California, Mississippi and West Virginia) allow exemptions for religious reasons. All 50 states admit medical exemptions, such as immunodeficiency, allergic reactions, or chemotherapy, among other factors.
Last month, the state of Washington declared a state of emergency after 50 people contracted measles, a highly contagious disease that can be fatal for young children. Measles was declared eliminated in the year 2000 in the USA thanks to the vaccination programs, but the exemptions to the obligatory vaccines led to its reappearance.
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