Unvaccinated Teenager Defies Parents and Gets Vaccinated

Unvaccinated Teenager Defies Parents and Gets Vaccinated February 11, 2019
Ethan Lindenberger

An 18-year-old defied his mother’s wishes and got vaccinated last month. Ethan Lindenberger used a Reddit forum to learn how to obtain the desired vaccinations. The teen admitted that if he gets immunized, he would be going against his mother’s wishes.

In a post titled, “My parents are kind of stupid and don’t believe in vaccines,” Ethan shared his desire to get immunized.  He admitted that his parents believe vaccines are part of a government conspiracy. Because of his parent’s beliefs, he never received any vaccines as a child.

“As the title explains, my parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme. It’s stupid and I’ve had countless arguments over the topic. But, because of their beliefs I’ve never been vaccinated for anything, god knows how I’m still alive.”

Now a senior in high school, Ethan shared that he had the money and transportation needed to bring himself to a clinic. His primary issue was he didn’t know where he could get the shots. Nor did he understand if some clinics charged more than others for the immunizations.

Clearly, his experience with medical providers was limited, and he needed help from the group. Quickly, the group responded with advice on how he could get vaccinated.

One Redditor commented,

“You can get a vaccine at any age. You’re 18, you can make your medical choices without your parents knowing. A lot of the times you can start with a flu shot at a local pharmacy (like Walgreens) or call the doctor office you went to and see what they can do. Vaccinations are beyond worth it and it’s never too late to start.”

Excited with the information, Ethan told the commenter he planned to stop at CVS after school that day. Next, questions turned to bills, insurance, and copays. The teen appeared worried his parents might find out about his plan to receive the vaccines.

Thankfully, Redditors provided tips on how to pay for vaccines out of pocket, and how he could bill insurance but still pay for the copay himself. Others suggested reaching out to his county public health department for programs that offer free vaccines.

As more and more people provided details, they told Ethan what vaccines he would need. Many applauded him for taking care of his health and having the courage to go against his parent’s wishes.

After more than a thousand comments, he updated the post and said he made an appointment to get his vaccines. Instead of going behind his parent’s back, he told them about his plans. As expected, his mother was not happy with his choice. Ethan wrote,

“I have an appointment in a few weeks to get my shots! My mom was especially angry but my dad said because I’m 18 he doesn’t care that much. Although my moms trying to convince me to not do it and saying I don’t care about her, I know that this is something I need to do regardless.”

Another update a month later, proudly proclaimed that he got all his vaccinations. As people congratulated him for making the right decision, he said,

“Thanks, man, the doctors, and my friends have been really supportive which helped when my mom put me down and told me how disappointed she was I was wanting to get my vaccines.”

Since updating Reddit, Ethan’s story has made the rounds all over the news. He admitted some of the things he said about his parents were a bit harsh. However, he did not regret getting vaccinated and was grateful for so many Reddit users helping him.

Ethan had great timing in getting his immunizations. There are multiple states facing measles outbreaks due to low immunization rates in children. With many states having vaccination rates below 90%, more and more states are preparing for measles outbreaks.

Anti-vaccine parents like Ethan’s falsely believe that vaccines cause autism and contain harmful additives that lead to brain damage. Vaccines are safe and effective and do not cause autism. Thankfully, Ethan was able to see the error of his parents thinking and took steps to protect himself from contracting preventable illnesses.

If you are like Ethan and wish to get immunized, Vaccines.gov offers a search option to find clinics near you to receive vaccines. Individuals can obtain vaccines at doctor’s clinics and pharmacies. Vaccinating yourself is the best way to prevent yourself from illness.


*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • frostysnowman

    I bet his parents are vaccinated.

  • WallofSleep

    Woot! Good for Ethan, thinking for himself and discerning the truth after a childhood full of bullshit. Unfortunately I fear his younger siblings won’t fair so well, as that guilt-trippin’ piece of work that is his mother has vowed to redouble her efforts on educating (read: indoctrinating) her remaining children in the anti-vaxx ‘lifestyle’.

  • quinsha

    Heck, I am age 56, and going against my DOCTOR’S advice and getting my adult boosters. I now have my TDaP updated and looking for a Rite Aid that gives the MMR. The thing is I have asthma and my physician told me that I did not need my TDaP, that if I caught whooping cough there were antibiotics that would deal with it.

    If it was not for the fact that I am looking at moving out of state within the year, I would would be looking for a new physician.

  • Trellia

    Makes me think of this story on notalwaysright.com about a teenager getting her vaccines and her anti-vax mom coming along and throwing a tantrum. I’m hoping it was exaggerated, but… https://notalwaysright.com/she-has-to-live-somewhere-else-but-at-least-she-will-be-living/138678/

  • karmacat

    You may want to report that doctor to the state medical board. It sounds more like malpractice to not recommend the TDaP especially when you have asthma. The board may not do anything but at least it is on his record.

  • adhoc

    Good on the kid. He will need the vaccinations if he ever wants to travel outside the US.

  • swbarnes2

    Current CDC recommendations are that adults get a Td booster every 10 years, but not pertussis. If someone already got all their pertussis vaccines in childhood, there don’t seem to be any recomendations to get more in adulthood. (Except pregnant women get it to make antibodies to pas on to the fetus)


    This doctor is not out of line.

  • Raging Bee

    Damn, teenage rebellion sure ain’t what it used to be. When I was his age, we all snuck out and got ILLEGAL drugs against our parents’ advice! And we liked it that way! Damn kids these days… 😉

  • No, that’s fairly normal, I fear. Because to an anti-vaxxer, the child is property and not a unique individual. Ugh.

  • ValentineGecko

    No, but there’s been enough outbreaks and they are dangerous enough to newborns that I think parents, grandparents, and caregivers should try to convince a doctor to give them an adult booster.