Ethan Lindenberger grew up in Norwalk, Ohio, with an anti-vaxxer mom who refused to get him his shots. Now that he’s 18, Lindenberger is making headlines for his decision to defy his mother and get vaccinated, reports USA Today. “My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme,” the teen wrote on Reddit when he first decided to reach out for guidance. “God knows how I’m still alive.” He got more than 1,000 replies offering detailed advice on how to go about it, and Lindenberger got started with shots for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, and HPV, reports the Washington Post. On Tuesday, Lindenberger went on ABC’s Good Morning America to tell his story.
“I had grown up just hearing that I wasn’t vaccinated because it was best for me,” he said. But after seeing differing opinions online, he did his own research and concluded his parents were wrong. “It was like him spitting on me,” Lindenberger’s mother, Jill Wheeler, tells the website Undark. In elaborating to GMA, Wheeler said she opposes vaccinations because she’s heard about bad reactions: “It scared me.” Some states are starting to make it easier for “mature minors” to make their own medical decisions, notes the ABC story, but most states still leave that responsibility fully in the hands of parents. (A decrease in vaccinations is blamed for this measles outbreak.)