Teen defies mother, gets vaccines after turning 18

Reported cases of measles have spiked 30 per cent worldwide since 2016

A surge in measles cases prompted Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency January 25.

"For 16 years I haven't received any vaccinations", explained Ethan Lindenberger.

A 23-year-old Canadian told Salon that she started researching how to get immunized on her own around the age of 13. "Saying, 'You don't know anything, I don't trust you with anything. You did make a bad decision and I'm gonna go fix it'".

The report comes as both Canada and the United States face another year of measles outbreaks such as one now underway in Washington State and OR, where support for anti-vaccination has been notable.

Growing up, Ethan said his parents would tell him about the negative effects of getting vaccinated - including that they could cause brain damage and autism. Anti-vaxxers say the government should not have the right to demand citizens receive such jabs against their will, while some vaccination proponents argue those who opt out of having their kids vaccinated put others at risk. Ethan had no idea that he was an outlier among his friends until he spoke to them and discovered that he was the only one who hadn't been vaccinated.

Ethan said, "I'm a very obedient child". But this U.S. teen has defied his parents by... immunising himself against a host of diseases.

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'But the diseases we developed vaccines for - like polio, which killed or crippled thousands of children - were selected precisely because they're so severe'.

Lindenberger's opinion on vaccinations hasn't changed his mother's mind, but Wheeler did say it's been a learning experience.

His mother, Jill Wheeler, was angered by his pursuit, she told Undark, an online science magazine.

Ethan told NPR: "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'. He says he regrets insulting the intelligence of his parents in the original Reddit post and urges other teenagers to be transparent and positive with parents when seeking permission to immunize. He wrote: "God knows how I'm still alive".

Lindenberger's post drew more than 1,000 comments, including detailed information on navigating the health care system in one post from someone who identified as a nurse. According to the Washington Department of Health, almost one in four Clark County kindergarten students during the 2017-18 school year did not get all their immunizations; at three different elementary schools, over 40% of kindergarteners did not get vaccinated before they started kindergarten.

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