Despite the world's top medical professionals working on vaccinations, there are still people who identify as 'anti-vaxxers' and decline to vaccinate their children. Now, teens are helping one another get their Covid-19 vaccinations, without their parents finding out.
Vaccines are responsible for wiping out some of the biggest diseases ever seen.
The smallpox vaccine was the first to be developed against a contagious disease. From 1958 to 1977, the World Health Organisation conducted a global vaccination campaign which eradicated the disease.
However, since the 1990's, there has been a distinct rise in 'anti-vaxxers'. Especially after there was a rumoured link between the MMR vaccine and Autism.
The rumours came as a result of the 1998, Lancet MMR autism fraud, characterised as "perhaps the most damaging medical hoax of the last 100 years". The research paper titled Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children, by Andrew Wakefield and several co-authors was published, supposing a link between the MMR vaccine and Autism. The fraud was exposed in a lengthy Sunday Times article by reporter Brian Deer resulting in the paper's retraction in February 2010, and Wakefield being suspended from the UK medical register three months later.
Nevertheless, the damage had been done...
In March of this year, Forbes posted an article highlighting how many people, distinctly within Europe and the US, were hesitant when it came to the Covid-19 vaccines.
"The U.S. is vaccinating at a faster pace than any member of the E.U., and three times the E.U. average."
"I know vaccines are lifesaving, but I don't want to become homeless."
Ethan Lindenberger, 20, is among the young people who are defying their anti-vaxxer parents' wishes and getting their Covid-19 vaccines. He said doing so "could save someone's life."
In 2019, Lindenberger became famous after giving a TEDtalk on the Importance of stopping vaccine misinformation.
However, teens are now risking getting kicked out to be vaccinated...
Summer Johnson McGee, dean of the University of New Haven's School of Health Sciences is in favour of the decision.
"Ethan's advice is spot on for encouraging teens to undertake education and straight talk with parents about their desire to be vaccinated," she said. "Teenagers who do not share their parents' views on vaccination are in a tough spot, but should advocate for their own decision-making to be vaccinated if they wish."
It’s a good thing medical professionals are often ready to help kids of anti-vaxxers, even later in life than usual.
My parents chose not to vaccinate my sister and me. They have some... unique ideas about science and medicine.
We were also homeschooled if that clarifies anything.
We both wound up volunteering at hospitals at different points in our lives, so we had to get caught up anyway. For me, it was at age 20, for an internship at a mental health facility.
It was a little awkward explaining to the nurse why I had nothing on my record, but she was understanding overall.
My big concern now is what will happen when I get around to having children of my own in a few years.
I think they'll see me as a bad mother if I get them vaccinated, so I'm anticipating some fireworks. -Arihagne
Lindenberger made fame in 2019 for going against his mothers wishes and getting his shots.
He wound up getting his shots over his mother's objections and later testified before a Senate committee about how misinformation that appears on Facebook, Twitter and other social media fuels the anti-vaccination movement.
He received much praise for his decision, however the anti-vaxx movement scorned him, some extreme ones even sent him death threats.
Lindenberger spoke out as a nationwide push is on to get as many teenagers as possible vaccinated now that everyone above the age of 12 is eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations.
A study done by the Kaiser Family Foundation's Vaccine Monitor found that nearly a quarter of parents who took part in the survey would not allow their teenagers to be vaccinated and 18% would only do it if the schools mandated it.
When in doubt, go with science.squeezymarmite
Nearly all states ask for parental consent for the Covid-19 jab between the ages of 12-15, except for 5 states.
In North Carolina, teenagers can receive vaccinations without parental consent; in Tennessee and Alabama, teenagers 14 and older don't need consent; in Oregon, the age is set at 15; and in Iowa, it's up to the health care provider to decide.
In all other states you need full parental consent until the age of 15, however ages 16-18 is a bit more complicated.
In California, for example, minors can't get the Covid-19 vaccination without their parents' consent, but a 16-year-old in South Carolina can do so without parental permission.
But Kelly Danielpour, who runs the site VaxTeen, said that among the dozen or so queries she gets every day, many are from teenagers contending with parents opposed to them getting vaccinated against Covid-19.
Danielpour: "I am lucky because my parents are pro-vaccine, but there seems to be a lot of teens whose parents are opposed to letting them get vaccinated."
"It's an issue of access, as well as consent," Danielpour said.
She goes on to say that the first step is arming teens with information and resources they can use when talking to their parents. She said she recently heard from a teenager whose parents relented after she made an argument to get vaccinated against Covid-19 using VaxTeen information.
More often than not, anti-vaxxer parents are trying to protect their kids—until they realize where the real danger is.
My mum didn't get the measles vaccination because at the time she thought it caused autism; she was kinda one of the first anti-vaxxers, wrote to papers about it everything.
Anyway, a girl in our social group caught meningitis and died, basically freakishly uncommon.
After that, mum was really scared the same thing could happen to me with any disease and basically begged me to get up to date with my shots.
I guess the main takeaway is that when my mum was younger and inexperienced, she thought everything was a danger; she honestly thought she was doing best by me, I guess. -b*llend_b*llend
Lindenberg agrees that it's not just about doing it but by having difficult conversations with family members.
"If your parent is opposed, clearly there are issues that need to be worked out. It's not as simple as getting vaccinated and telling your parents to kick rocks," Lindenberger said. "There is a complex family dynamic here."
There’s an anti-vaccination film called ‘Vaxxed’ (made by an ex-doctor whose license was revoked), and these redditors are NOT about it.We had our first child at the very beginning of the year and had to tell my father that since he won't get vaccinated, he won't be able to see his grandbaby until the baby gets their shots. The baby had their first round of shots a few months ago, and my father can now visit. It pained me to do that, and I know it pained him, but I was not putting my child at risk for his choice. This last weekend we visited my father. At the end of the visit, he handed me Vaxxed. He knows our feelings on the matter - preventable diseases should be prevented, herd immunity protects those most at risk, autism is not caused by vaccines. It's just... disrespectful. I know he thinks he's trying to protect his grandson from harm, but it's coming from the completely wrong direction, and no one can seem to change his opinion on the matter. -humplick
This family had a long descent into anti-vaccination.
My mom vaccinated me but not my 3 younger sisters. When my sister got pregnant and had her baby my mom convinced her not to vaccinate. The family battles got even crazier at that point. -jefferylucille
The Anti-Vaxx movement is large and demands attention...
Following this chant, the #antimask #antivaxx protestors began directly addressing the children in line:— Caryma Sa'd - Lawyer (@CarymaRules) May 23, 2021
“Don’t listen to your parents! They are aren’t keeping you safe!”
Which is a weird message, considering their previous stance was emphasizing parental consent. pic.twitter.com/4FaSrnzZkd
This protest was aimed at teenagers entering a vaccination centre.
Isn’t it weird that anti vaxxers won’t be friends with people that are pro vaccination? I mean, gee wiz why is my vaccination program so important to you? 😂 This is a strange world. #AntiVaxxers #CovidVic— Michael James (@ecomfather) May 24, 2021
Seriously? These moronic #AntiVaxxers are protesting at a clinic where people have chosen to get the #COVID19 #vaccine? Why protest? They aren't being forced to get one.#COVIDIOTS #darwinaward https://t.co/u8HLF5tm1j— Tom Engel (@TomEngel18) May 24, 2021
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