Coming of Age Unvaccinated

The number of parents seeking exemptions from having their children vaccinated is rising in several states. Some of those kids grow up and ask why.

In many ways, Ethan Lindenberger is like most other teenagers. A high school senior in Norwalk, Ohio, he runs his school’s debate club, is a member of his local church, and is planning to start college in the fall. But unlike many of his peers, the 18-year-old did not receive several of what are considered standard — and, doctors and public health officials say, crucially important — childhood vaccinations. In the coming months, he plans to seek out these vaccinations for the very first time.

“I’m a very obedient child. I don’t really try and go against my mom. Even though I’m 18, I don’t pull that card.”

Ethan Lindenberger’s mother did not believe in having him vaccinated. He questions that decision, and now that he’s 18, he’s seeking to remedy it.

Visual: Courtesy of Ethan Lindenberger

Lindenberger’s records, which he shared with Undark, show that he has not yet received shots for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), chickenpox, or even polio, a disease that can cause paralysis and sometimes lead to death. He attributes this in part to his mother having been influenced by dubious anti-vaccination information online — from theories that immunizations can cause brain damage, to the work of discredited physician Andrew Wakefield and his long-ago-debunked study linking the MMR vaccine to autism.

Wakefield’s study and other false vaccination information, however, remain actively peddled on social media, where his mother, Lindenberger says, “kind of fell into this echo chamber, and got more and more misinformation.” His father, he says, espouses similar beliefs, but takes a more laidback approach.

Lindenberger’s records do show he received two shots in 2002, though in an interview, his mother, Jill Wheeler, said this must be a mistake and insists her son only received a single immunization for tetanus after he cut himself as a child. After vaccinating her first daughter and starting immunizations for her oldest son, Wheeler — who owns a local children’s theater company — said she learned she had the right to opt-out. “If I have a choice, I want to know what my choices are and make the decision as an educated mom,” she said. Based on reading arguments both for and against vaccination, she says, she chose not to continue with her other five children.

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This was not a wise choice, according to most experts, who argue that stopping the spread of false information and getting infants and young children vaccinated on schedule offers the best chance at protection against disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sets this schedule for children each year, based on when they’re likely to be most at risk. And vaccinations, of course, do not just benefit individuals — they stop the spread of disease from person to person and help protect those who cannot receive certain vaccinations for medical reasons.

But as parents in some states increasingly take advantage of non-medical exemptions that allow them to forego standard vaccinations, more and more children are reaching their teenage years only to discover — from their peers, teachers, and through Twitter and Facebook and other online platforms — that their bodies are at the center of a roiling tug-of-war between science and pseudoscience. And this has increasing numbers of unvaccinated near-adults digging through literature and asking questions in online forums in an effort to discover, for themselves, the truth about vaccines, and what options are available to them as they approach the age of consent.

After receiving support from his science teacher, pastor, and friends, Lindenberger made an appointment at his local health department to start catching up.

In spite of his mother’s beliefs, Lindenberger — who had been considering if certain vaccinations would be required for college admission — says he conducted his own research and, after receiving support from his science teacher, pastor, and friends, made an appointment at his local health department to start catching up. But with a measles outbreak spreading through unvaccinated children in the Pacific Northwest, younger teens facing situations similar to Lindenberger’s raise the question of whether they should be allowed to provide consent for themselves, too.

The best-case scenario, according to Allison Winnike, president and CEO of The Immunization Partnership, a Texas-based non-profit focused on eradicating vaccine-preventable diseases through education and community engagement, is for families to try and come to a resolution amongst themselves when disagreements over childhood vaccines leave a youngster under-immunized.

“That’s sort of like Plan A,” she said. “But what we have to also think about is a Plan B.”

Currently, there are no federal laws governing a minor’s ability to consent to vaccination. Rather, it’s up to states, to varying degrees of specificity, to determine if children can make health care decisions for themselves. Last year, a 15-year-old Minnesota student — who when contacted by Undark requested only to be identified as “Danny” — turned to Reddit for advice, noting that he’d spent four years trying to convince his anti-vaccine parent that vaccines are safe. “I haven’t succeeded,” he wrote.

There are no federal laws governing a minor’s ability to consent to vaccination. Rather, it’s up to states to determine if children can make health care decisions for themselves.

Minnesota, like many other states, allows minors to make certain choices related to pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and alcohol and drug abuse. The allowances are broadened for minors who are living apart from a parent or guardian, those who are married, or those who have children of their own. Apart from these circumstances, however, the only vaccination a typical teenager like Danny could consent to alone is hepatitis B. This vaccine, which is also normally first given before a newborn ever leaves the hospital, protects against a virus that can cause liver swelling and complications that may lead to organ damage and cancer.

California has a similar statute, signed into law by then-Governor Jerry Brown in 2011, which allows minors as young as 12 to receive vaccination for hepatitis B, along with the vaccine for HPV, a major cause of cervical and other cancers. In Alabama and Oregon, wider statutes allow minors aged 14 and 15, respectively, to consent to their own health care.

But regulations focused on vaccination, according to Winnike, are few and far between.

“Most states do not have specific laws carving out immunizations,” she said, although there have been some moves to expand minor’s rights regarding preventative care — which would include contraception and vaccinations.

In 2017, the Texas legislature introduced a bill that would have allowed minors aged 14 and older to consent to vaccinations specifically for cancer prevention, which — similarly to California — would have included hepatitis B and HPV. That same year, Minnesota introduced a bill solely focused on HPV. Neither bill moved out of committee.

Jill Wheeler, pictured here with her seven children, from left: Isaac, Piper, Briar (in Wheeler’s arms), Emma, Ethan (back row), Noah, and Gabriel (on lap). “I did not immunize [Ethan],” Wheeler said, “because I felt it was the best way to protect him and keep him safe.” Most experts strongly disagree.

Visual: Courtesy of Jill Wheeler

Despite some parents’ concern regarding the idea of a child consenting to a medical procedure, Winnike emphasizes that because all vaccines recommended by the CDC are held to rigorous standards, they “should be generally considered safe for a teen to consent to.” In Texas, she points out, along with Alabama, Illinois, and many other states, teenage parents are entitled to make medical decisions for their children without further oversight.

For now, however, teenagers who are still living at home and are not covered by a specific state statute may have to keep pressing their parents — or simply just wait. At the county health department in Lindenberger’s hometown in Ohio, Christina Cherry, the director of public health nursing, said all they can do is provide a teen with the appropriate information to share with their parent or guardian. “Additionally,” Cherry wrote in an email, “we can encourage the child/teen to bring the parent or guardian in to meet with us or the child’s/teen’s primary care provider to discuss the parent’s concerns about vaccinating.”

For now, teenagers who are still living at home and are not covered by a specific state statute may have to keep pressing their parents — or simply just wait.

Such an approach seems to have worked, at least in a small way, for Danny, who recently turned 16. In a phone call, the high school sophomore said his mother did eventually allow him to get vaccinated against polio and tetanus following a conversation with his doctor. For any further immunizations, however, he says he’ll likely have to wait until his 18th birthday.

For that reason, Danny said he supports lowering the age of consent to be able to get the rest of his vaccinations on his own, but added that this alone won’t address the problem. “Stopping the spread of false information,” he added, along with a handful of other factors, also have to be considered. Infants also need to be vaccinated, he said, and that remains, for the most part, entirely a parent’s choice.

“The toughest aspect to understand is that they want the best for me,” Danny said of his parents. “And that decision, in my opinion, was not properly researched or informed.”

Lindenberger said it wasn’t easy telling his mom about his choice to get vaccinated, even though he felt it was the smart thing to do. “I’m a very obedient child,” Lindenberger said. “I don’t really try and go against my mom. Even though I’m 18, I don’t pull that card.”

It helped a bit, he says, that his father reacted less harshly. Despite being in the “same camp” as his mom, Lindenberger said, his dad told him “Hey, you’re 18, you can do what you want and we can’t really stop you.”

Wheeler called her son’s decision a slap in the face. “It was like him spitting on me, saying ‘You don’t know anything.’”

So far, according to his vaccination records, Lindenberger has received one round of shots — for HPV, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, and diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) — and will return to the health department later this month for his second round. Cherry confirmed that an adult with no prior vaccinations needs to come in for at least three appointments over a six-month period.

For her part, Lindenberger’s mother says her son’s decision to seek out vaccinations for himself felt like an insult. “I did not immunize him because I felt it was the best way to protect him and keep him safe,” Wheeler said of her son, calling his decision “a slap in the face.”

“It was like him spitting on me,” she continued, “saying ‘You don’t know anything, I don’t trust you with anything. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You did make a bad decision and I’m gonna go fix it.’”

Ohio, like the vast majority of states, allows parents to exempt their children from vaccines that would otherwise be required for school admission based on religious grounds, and it is also one of a smaller group of states that allows exemptions for personal or philosophical reasons. Wheeler says her exemptions have simply been for personal reasons and that she usually doesn’t receive much pushback.

“She even told me when I asked about the college thing,” Lindenberger said, “that if you push hard enough, they won’t force you to get vaccinated.” Even for universities like Ohio State — which experienced hundreds of cases of mumps in 2014 — students can gain an exemption solely based on “good cause.”

Non-medical exemptions have been declining generally across the country, but tens of thousands are still granted annually, and certain states including Oregon, Idaho, and North Dakota, are seeing an increase, putting those areas at risk for future disease outbreaks.

“We’re seeing more and more anti-vaccine parents clustering in different regions around the country,” said Winnike. Though these parents can cause a lot of damage, a larger group, she says, is made up of “vaccine-hesitant” parents. “Once you just talk to them, hear some of their fears, and then explain to them the scientific benefits and the health care benefits, they are more open to getting their child vaccinated.”

Still, Wheeler remains staunch in her dismissals, arguing that she believes many vaccines are unnecessary and even harmful. “Polio, if you really research polio, it was almost completely eradicated, almost gone, there was almost no cases of polio when they introduced the oral vaccine,” she said. “The oral vaccine started giving people polio. And it went from almost completely eradicated, to the numbers were shooting, sky-rocketing back up, from immunizations.”

Ethan’s 16-year-old brother, he says, “wants to get vaccinated the moment he turns 18.” His 14-year-old sister, meanwhile, “fully, whole-heartedly agrees with my mom.”

Like many anti-vaccine arguments, however, such thinking — while surely rooted in a genuine concern for her children’s health and safety — is based on a faulty distillation of history. The development of the oral vaccine in the middle of the 20th century was, in fact, a vital complement to the injectable vaccine, helping to dramatically reduce global polio cases in part because it was comparatively easy to transport and administer. But because the oral vaccine uses a live, weakened form of the virus, it has the potential — albeit small — to also cause the disease, and sporadic outbreaks of vaccine-derived polio remain a challenge in parts of the developing world. The numbers, though, are telling: Roughly 100 cases of vaccine-derived polio were tracked globally in 2018, according to the World Health Organization. Before global eradication efforts began in 1988, 350,000 children were paralyzed by the disease each year.

Also of note: The U.S. has not used oral polio vaccine for nearly two decades.

And yet, Wheeler says that her experience with Ethan has convinced her to start talking to her younger children about why she has chosen to skip their vaccinations. “It has opened my eyes,” Wheeler said, “to say ‘I better educate them now. Not wait until they’re 18.’ But I need to start educating my 16-year-old, and my 14-year-old now, saying this is why I don’t believe in it.”

Lindenberger says he’s also discussed the issue with his siblings himself, and has gotten mixed reactions. His 16-year-old brother, he says, “wants to get vaccinated the moment he turns 18,” while his 14-year-old sister “fully, whole-heartedly agrees with my mom.”

Follow-up conversations with his mother, Lindenberger says, haven’t changed a thing.

“We both know where we stand,” he said.

Jane Roberts is the deputy editor of Undark.

Top visual: Moment via Getty
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131 comments / Join the Discussion

    I’d be annoyed to have such a manipulative guilt tripper as a mother, who whenever a child makes a decision for themself she brings out a toxic insult index to imagined motives rather than taking simple criticism or another opinion.)

    Calling his decision “a slap in the face.” “It was like him spitting on me,” she continued, “saying ‘You don’t know anything, I don’t trust you with anything. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You did make a bad decision and I’m gonna go fix it.’”

    The truth is she did make a bad decision and he does need to fix it!

    When I was 15 I thought my parents were wrong about most everything. By 25 I realized that I was wrong. it is scary when the manufacturers of vaccines say that their products work so well that the population will be reduced in a short amount of time.

    This is standard propaganda that profits phramaceutical companies because they found a way to manipulate people through emotions and fake scientific theories, so that everyone will be forced to use their products, which are proved to be dangerous and deleterous for the immune system, especially at a young age.

    Forced medication is an odious crime, no matter how you twist the politics around it. It’s disgusting. Preventing people from going to school or other places because you don’t comply in taking a product made by companies that put profits before everything else is also a crime of the highest order. It’s blackmail, pure and simple.

    Herd immunity doesn’t apply to vaccination at all. Being vaccinated doesn’t prevent viruses and other germs to move around and be transmitted through contact, water, air, etc.. You are responsible for your own health, all the time. If the mere presence of a virus really would cause infection, then we would be sick 24/7. It’s medical nonsense.

    The health of the herd trumps the concerns for any one individual in human society.

    This all boils down to parental rights versus government control of your own child!!!. Herd immunity or just the herd following blindly? Boils down to this: Does Government knows best and is govt. more qualified to make life decisions for all children! Should parents have rights to decide what drugs their children are injected with? Once a child is born do they become a ward of the state and the state injects whatever whenever? Vaccinations, sterilizations, birth control, anti depressants etc. Where does it end? Surely Government knows best and is far more qualified to make life decisions for all children! This is crazy that we are living in a time where we blindly trust that our leaders know better than we do on how to raise our kids. I am all for vaccinations but not for government mandates and intervention on what my children should have! There are pro’s and cons on both sides of the vaccination debate. Think of what this may lead to and in some cases already has led to! I am feeling pretty confident that most parents are far more qualified to make these decisions than the idiots who profess to be our leaders! Not to mention the billion dollar lobby effort by the big pharmaceutical companies to get their drugs pushed on the market! Oh and BTW anyone vaccinating all those illegal immigrants coming into the country? I think they pose a far greater public health risk risk than the Wheeler family! Just saying.

    Randall, you know you’re on a highly regarded science based website don’t you? One question, Do you believe the science and the stats? That’s really what it’s about

    Pretty obvious Dad is simply going along with Mom rather than put up with her irrational behavior 24/7. He is a smart husband.

    Mom is a head case. (I’m a father.) One wag here called him a “smart husband” if he is “yes, dear”-ing her. I concur. But he’d simultaneously be a lousy father as a result.

    If Mom’s idea of ideal parenting is to drop herself into a photocopier that takes 18 years to produce a copy, I deeply resent the possibility that if single-payer healthcare ever comes to pass in this country, I will be partly on the hook for her kids’ therapy sessions.

    The most bittersweet day in my life will occur when my daughter, the an adult herself, out-reasons her father and rejects something he holds dear. Bitter to lose the argument, sweet that I raised a child sharper than myself. If I could do no better than replicate myself (while I’m pretty sure that would be advantageous over not having a child, from the perspective of the world), I’d have the bar set too low. In her case, dangerously (for the rest of us) low.

    And while I would normally not waste time on someone so stubbornly ignorant, I cannot let her false history of polio go unchallenged. Ma’am, U.S. polio outbreaks, rare or even unknown until the 20th Century, began before Salk and Sabin. After Salk and Sabin, not before, they became not merely rare, but unknown. How the devil did the vaccine cause polio outbreaks before it was invented, and why did it stop doing so after it was? FDR wasn’t crippled by a vaccine that didn’t exist until he no longer did.

    I’m disgusted that someone called this young man ‘vicious’ for ’embarrassing’ his mom.

    He’s being SENSIBLE, not ‘vicious’. This is a serious issue. Infectious diseases are not a laughing matter.

    He could have chosen not to go public, yes. But he does more good by setting an example to other people. Once one person does it, it is easier for other young people to follow suit. Other young people who might otherwise be too scared can say to themelves ‘Ethan Lindenberger did it, I can too.’ If that means more vaccinations and less people getting sick, this is a good thing.

    well, I tried to offer another perspective…. but this online magazine would not allow my comment claiming it was duplicate

    This sounds like another scripted agitprop. Too many red flags in this story to be legitimate. The “family photo” is not a picture of a stereotypical “religious” family. Isn’t it interesting that the “Mom” happens to work in the field of drama/theater and this online magazine is not “neutral” on this topic. The average “anti-vax” family is incredibly well informed–knowing the facts. They teach their children to be critical thinkers who do in-depth academic research of their own not an opinion forum like Reddit. Wake up people quit letting big-Pharma and profit-driven agencies wag-the-dog.

    yeah everything is a conspiracy don’t listen to “experts in their field” its just the govenment trying to brainwash the children

    Lindenberger’s parents — were they vaccinated?

    At any rate, in my opinion the young man did the right thing.

    He did not give in to big pharma. He was not brainwashed. He did not spit in his mother’s face.

    He did his research, weighed his risks and chose freely.

    Because he told his story, others may be helped.

    Good for him.

    I recall Ben Franklin saying those religiously opposed to war being a burden in that respect to others, but I think their contributions and low overhead in other areas made that burden acceptable. Now, not being vaccinated for statistically solid or medical or properly formulated theological reasons is a burden all the rest of us must bear, but for others to jump on the bandwagon due to urban legends is not.

    Even if he disagreed with his mom, he ought not have gone public in this way. He should have simply gotten vaccinated, and then let the matter rest. No need to openly defy and embarrass Mom, who obviously loves him. Some kids are so vicious that they break their parents hearts without a single thought.

    And some parents are so stubborn that they’re right, they’re even willing to risk their children’s lives over it.

    clearly you have not read the congressional report of May 2003, which admits that vaccines are not safe, or the mountains of academic studies and statistics that refute the “popular” agenda which is not based in science.

    wow…. censorship

    The fact that you, failing to understand how a simple comment thread on a website works, decry censorship and persecution because your comments don’t show up for a few minutes undermines anything you might want to tell us about the science of vaccines.

    Yes Cindy, it’s all just a conspiracy. The man is out to get you. But which man, which company? All of them I tell you. Oh and lets not forget the government, we all know they are in on it too. Well I could go on but I need to go check under my bed, that’s where the boogieman got his start. Now where is my flashlight……

    I couldn’t possibly disagree more. I think this young man is showing a remarkable amount of self-restraint and deference towards his parents who, through their actions have shown themselves to be wholly undeserving of it. I’m thrilled that he has gone public and I hope that his actions serve as an inspiration to others trapped in similar dilemmas to step up and protect themselves and their younger siblings if their caregivers are unwilling to do so. As for the mother’s hurt feelings, embarrassment or sense of betrayal, I really couldn’t care less, and that’s a very mild way of putting it. The fact that she or any other putative “parent” would willingly put their children in a situation where they are forced to take this action to protect their own health- that’s what’s truly offensive.

    Are you serious? She’s putting the life and well-being of her children at risk because of her uneducated, stubborn beliefs and it’s OK because she’s doing this “with love”?

    The road to hell is paved with “good intentions”!

    I’m disgusted that someone called this young man ‘vicious’ for ’embarrassing’ his mom.

    He’s being SENSIBLE, not ‘vicious’. This is a serious issue. Infectious diseases are not a laughing matter.

    He could have chosen not to go public, yes. But he does more good by setting an example to other people. Once one person does it, it is easier for other young people to follow suit. Other young people who might otherwise be too scared can say to themelves ‘Ethan Lindenberger did it, I can too.’ If that means more vaccinations and less people getting sick, this is a good thing.

    Just going to leave this here.
    Those who use the Polio arguement should really come to terms with these points.
    Shame on this mom not doing her due diligence and making sure her children were all armed with this information so they KNEW, SOLIDLY, why she decided not vaccinating was safer. People need to stop being so afraid of measles and mumps and rubella and so many other infections. The brainwashing goes deep and is contagious in and of itself. Wonder if they have a vaccine for that. Not sure where everyones common sense went, but it’s definitely not in the majority of the population anymore! Sad!

    The mom says “it’s like him spitting in my face.” At least he’s vaccinated though, so all that will happen is your face will get wet.

    Federal law should mandate vaccinations with NO exceptions, period. Imbecility is not an excuse to put children at risk.

    Your right, they should pass a law that citizens cannot protect themselves in any way, that’s what the government is here for, also anything that anyone finds offensive to see or hear should be banned. Our food intake and time spent online should be monitored and governed. Lord knows we are just a bunch of idiots who can’t make wise decisions.

    VACCINES ARE DUMB!!!! If you get a vaccine you are incompetent and an imbecile. It is just destroying your immune system and people just don’t care. Its proven that cavemen were healthier, they only lived to be 30 but who cares. I would rather fill my body with natural goods then this crap stupid doctors tell me to get. this family is fortunate to rise above and see what live is truly about. PPAISE THE HOLY LORD ABOVE!!!!

    I genuinely can’t tell if this is sarcasm or not….I’m 99% sure you are making fun of the mother with your crack re: cavemen….but it’s possible that you mean it. Hats off to you for extreme subtlety


    Vaccines are definitely pointless. All you need is to pray to the one true god, and God will save you from all sickness and disease. Those who vaccinate are heathens who are subjecting themselves to mercury.

    I am proud of this young man standing up to his mother who shows little respect for her son for growing up and being responsible. She needs to stop having a tantrum and respect her son or she will lose him. Deciding not to get a vaccination for her children seems like an act to make herself feel above everyone else. It is a stupid way to claim uniqueness.

    Sometime the truth is very biased, because it is discoverable and true, provable, observable. Science means knowing, literally.

    Kudos to this young man for thinking for himself, and getting the facts. His mother is right — she made a mistake, and he fixed it. Antivaxxers are a public health threat.

    and where did he manage to get a tetanus shot without diphtheria and pertussis?

    Probably at an ER or urgent care office. It’s pretty standard to ask someone with a cut when their last tetanus shot was, particularly if it’s a deep puncture wound from a dirty knife or nail, common methods of transmission. If it’s been more than 5-10 years, they’ll order a tetanus shot since the vaccine is known to have declining effectiveness over time. Diphtheria and pertussis are spread by human to human contact and coughing/sneezing (respectively), so there’s no urgent reason to re-administer those.

    This is very biased. There are some nasty conflicts of interest ($), and politics surrounding the CDC and vaccination development/approval. We are not getting the oversight or protection we pay taxes to receive. Vaccines as GOOD or BAD ignores the real world scenario of greed and corruption built into this entity. This article is just touting the mainstream view without looking at the details. Please investigate the realities of one or two vaccines. Read the scientific papers. Interview peopl of knowledge from both camps. Do your job. You refer to a nonprofit who gets money from pharma companies to promote blindly all vaccines. Bulls**t.

    Disease is non-political, as are viruses. It’s science, and ignorance is not a valid cure for anything.

    My comments above are too heated/pointed. I apologize. I have two science degrees and practice in the scientific method for my profession. I wish we could have a real conversation of the business practices of vaccines (I agree to in principal etc) and not strident yes or no. What would Boyle say about how vaccines are produced by corporate science? Perhaps he’d say that is business as usual

    A person with a degree in a field that qualifies them to make authoritative statements on vaccinations would not describe it as a ‘science degree’. I call BS.


    Although I can respect your concerns, I’m curious to hear more about your thoughts on the profit/greed motive behind vaccines. Are you saying that vaccines create more profits than keeping a patient ill and dependent on drugs/machines/hospice care?

    There appears to be a wide spread assumption that greed, corruption and power do not exist in healthcare.

    The mother is right she did not protect him and she does not know what she is talking about. She put her children in danger due to paranoia. She dose not comment on gaining any insight just wants to focus on the indoctrination of the younger siblings. Very troubling

    This one mother is so representative of the stubborn irrationality of the anti-vaxxers. She believes it is her right to deny her children vaccines, but refuses to extend the right to her children to make a different choice even when they reach adulthood. What this signals to me is that this is more an ideology, akin to religious belief, one she feels so strongly about that she insists her offspring adopt these beliefs without question. I really believe there is a certain degree of mental disorder at work, with features of paranoia and delusion. Proper medical care, including preventive vaccines, are part of the required care of children. To deny them this care amounts to child neglect at the least, and abuse at the worst.

    The mother is right! Vaccines are full of Mercury ( ROMAN heathen god) and are the work of the devil!
    The mother should take her son to CHURCH and have him blessed with holy water. And prayer helps.
    NoAmerican who believes in God, and gor EVERY sunday to church and prays, has ever contracted polio or measles! THIS IS A PROVEN FACT! Google it!
    If you pray hard enough, God will protect you, and you will be disease free!

    Oh. My. God. That people really believe and tout this crap still astounds me.

    Marcrobe, I’m pretty sure that Dolores Haze was being satirical. Keep in mind that “Dolores Haze” was the full name of Lolita in Nabokov’s novel.

    Apropos quote from one whose name translates to “painful haze”.

    When I was a middle school teacher years ago, I contracted rubella from an unvaccinated student. I was vaccinated. ?? I was three months pregnant and was told my child would likely be born with birth defects.
    This is a long story for me but the important part is that I decided to have an abortion. I miss that child
    daily and regret the simple way his/her loss of life could have been prevented. Please make sure children receive
    the MMR vaccination. Please.

    When babies of unvaccinated mothers are born with congenital rubella, with severe birth defects, these mothers will ask why they had not been immunized.

    A resurgence of congenital rubella would be castastrophic. The consequences of anti-vaxxer idiocy will be unforgivable.

    I was lucky. Born in 1957 (the year Salk vaccinations began), I remember standing in line in 1963 to get Sabin’s sugar pill. I never really knew anyone with polio, but my parents did. I never received any other vaccines, because they weren’t invented yet. Let me tell you – having mumps, measles and chicken pox Wes no fun! And I didn’t get a tetanus shot until I got stitches at 11. I ended up at age 43 with shingles, which I would never have suffered through if I had never had chicken pox. As a retired nurse, I am a big believer in vaccinations. Today’s parents have no idea (or memories) of how bad things can be. And shame on that mother for trying to force her ignorance on her children!

    I don’t debate this issue with anti vaccination people. It comes down to one credo: You can’t fix stupid

    Go to a cemetery. Look at all the children’s tombstones dated in the 1950s and 60s. Then, hardly any children’s tombstones. Because that’s when people started vaccinating their kids. The truth is literally written in stone. Anti-vaxxers believe lies propagated by former doctor Wakefield (his license is revoked) and a former Playmate model over tens of thousands of medically trained professionals. This stupidity is unbelievable.

    When you look at the entire anti-vaxxer argument structure it can be broken into 3 pieces: how they feel about what is best for their child, anecdotal research and anti-corporate sentiment. Even in some of the posts already given in response to this article, many say something along the lines of deciding what is best for their child based on what they ‘feel’ is appropriate. Feel is the key word here. You see it all over the web and in conversation when anti-vaxxers explain their choices and decisions. The problem is, how you ‘feel’ is irrelevant! We live in an objective world with objective consequences, while you may ‘feel’ it is the best choice, it just objectively is not the best choice. If I slam 2 beers and 4 shots at the bar, then get into a car and drill a pedestrian, no judge, jury, or victim, for that matter, is going to care one moment if I say, “But I ‘felt’ like I was ok to drive.” While anyone is valid in having concerns about the side effects of a medical treatment, no matter how mundane, you have to way your options objectively. Of course vaccines can have side effects or could even be totally ineffective, however those possibilities are small, rare, and often mild, and compared to the risk of contracting the disease are nominal. While you could validly argue that you could spare many children the nasty side effects of vaccination every year if no one in the US were to be vaccinated, if no child were vaccinated in the US and herd immunity were lost, the number of children who would be effected if not killed by the diseases would be on several orders of magnitude greater than the number spared from the side effects!

    When I talk about anecdotal evidence, it is all the stories of woe of someone harmed by a vaccine or those who were fine even though they weren’t vaccinated. Here is the problem, there is nothing scientific about. Even the quacks that based on their credentials should be pr0-vaccine but aren’t, will rarely argue against the mountain of scientific data that shows vaccines save lives, instead they point to the few examples failures of vaccines and make emotional pleas to your feeling rather than well-reasoned data driven argument. And, universally, every time some of them point to data that says the risk of vaccination is too great, that data cannot be corroborated or replicated (basically, the data was fictitious or fabricated). Plus it is real easy to make a compelling case if your child was the one harmed, but what you don’t see the corresponding 1,000 other parents get online a say, “my kids were vaccinated, nothing bad happened, and they grew up never to get polio or the measles.” As far as the person that claims vaccination wasn’t necessary for them because they or their kids never got sick, thank your lucky stars the majority of us were vaccinated. Because your risk of exposure was light. However, you don’t see many stories about parents sorry they didn’t vaccinate like in the current WA measles outbreak, because we all hate to admit we were wrong when we cause harm to the innocent by our horrible decision making. Prior to the 1963 introduction of the measles vaccine (US population half of what it is today), 4mil Americans got the disease annually, tens of thousands were hospitalized and about 500 died annually. Put into perspective, those numbers would double today because of the greater population. The number of Americans facing significant side effect from the vaccine are no where near that intense.

    As far as corporate greed is concerned this is all based on false correlation not objective fact. I am no fan of big pharma, the stuff they have pulled with opioids or how they have systematically jacked up prices on cheap life saving drugs are things that tell us we need to scrutinize their business practices. Yet just as Al Capone handed out turkeys on Thanksgiving just because they came from Capone doesn’t mean they were poison Turkeys. Big Pharma can be full of scumbags but still produce quality lifesaving vaccines. And the notion that because someone is profiting they can’t be doing good, is nonsense. If Elon Musk makes a profit from selling Tesla cars, he is still reducing carbon emissions. Sometimes a profit motive ensures availability. No profit=limited availability=limited good. Anyone who can earn a profit selling something will do their best to ensure they don’t miss a sale because of supply.

    People make decisions based on feelings and hunches. That is not going to change. Research has shown that most of us, most of the time, reach decisions first, then start thinking rationally afterward–to RATIONALIZE the decision we have already made with our gut! Doesn’t mean we have to give people a pass when their bad decisions lead to bad consequences. Just means that campaigning for rationality over emotionalism is a non-starter.

    Getting mumps when you are 18 can sterilize you. Ask if you do not want to have children.

    Most vaccinations are economic losers for “Big Pharma.” That’s why subsidies are often needed to incentivize making them. The idea that vaccinations are peddled by the evil drug makers to make big profits is ignorant nonsense.

    It is because these young parents did not grow up seeing the effects of these diseases on their friends and family. My uncles all contracted polio, leading to an enlarged heart for one, causing his death at age 13. Measles can leave children with deafness, blindness or brain damage. How can you wish this on any child? If you love your kids, get them vaccinated.

    Unfortunately, I think this is what it will take to turn the anti-vaccine tide. We’re already seeing frequent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in areas where anti-vaxxer sentiment is high. It’ll get to the point where the children of anti-vaxxers do see their friends and family members dying in large numbers, and that will hopefully persuade them to vaccinate themselves and their children. So many parents today think that vaccines aren’t necessary because “nobody gets measles anymore,” without realizing that the disease almost disappeared BECAUSE OF vaccines. It’s like saying that because seatbelts make you less likely to die in a car accident, then car accidents aren’t deadly so there’s no need to wear a seatbelt.

    When people say that unvaccinated shouldn’t be able to put vaccinated children or adults in jeopardy, I worry about mutations. Viruses and bacteria have been known to mutate and superseded the current treatments, such as antibiotics, creating MRSA and VRE. Given enough time, I believe unvaccinated can infect the vaccinated. At that point, what do we do? We’ll have to create a whole new vaccine for the newly mutated disease. I have a hard time with people complaining pharmaceutical companies profiting. If you break it down, they got to pay the light bill, they got to pay the people who work on this, they got to pay the janitors who clean buildings. Of course that make a profit. Isn’t that the idea of every job? But I have done a lot of patient paperwork where they do give out free medications that cost thousands of thousands of dollars to people who can’t afford it. How many people know that end of the deal? Bottom line is they do create vaccines and drugs that work. You can’t tell me any different when they are making drugs and treatments for your family members who have cancer, who have multiple sclerosis Etc. As a nurse, I have seen the difference that medicine can make, and I have seen mutations that are hard to treat because of that mutation. I’m just a little surprised that not many thought or talk about this. Another strong point is that vaccinated people who do impacted, say for instance the measles, the severity and duration of the disease is greatly minimized. Not getting vaccinated is not worth the risk of compromising anyone’s health, or even the possibility of death.

    I was born before many vaccines were available. I was vaccinated, by injection, against polio and diptheria, and by skin scratch against smallpox and TB. I had measles, chickenpox, and german measles before I was 10, but no mumps.
    In the early 1980s one of my colleagues at work had an unvaccinated son catch mumps. I never met the son, but the father, who had no symptoms, infected me. I was in hospital for four days, and my wife and I could longer have children. I was in my early 30s, and fortunately we already had two children.
    The story says the local university had an outbreak of mumps already. Someone who can needs to tell the teenager in the story that mumps needs to be top of his list, or tell his father that if he wants his family name to continue he’d better see to it ASAP.

    Should parents be allowed to to claim exemption from the requirement that their children wear seat belts or placed in car seats while riding in vehicles on religious or other grounds or because it’s a more ‘natural’ way to travel? Or should they be allowed exemption from wearing helmets while playing football?

    “…she chose not to continue [vaccination] with her other five children. This was not a wise choice, according to most experts…”

    Only MOST experts support vaccination? I would be interesting in seeing listed the names of any who do not, as well as their credentials. (Bet that list is really short. Picture that new emoji short.)

    “Vaccinated” Does this mean having the full 34, or whatever number they give today, or only those you received as a child? If you are over 50 you received 4, 6? Aren’t all these adults who have not had the full number of vaccines “unvaccinated”? Isn’t every single adult who hasn’t had every available vaccination a danger to the world?!! Why do the chicken littles never mention this!! We must update all vaccinations too!! Every year! No Every day!! Merck approves.

    Born in 1966, growing up unvaccinated didn’t even matter at all. They rarely even asked and I don’t think they even required a form, simply my mother telling someone that she did not believe in it. My younger sister has worked at a germ factory known as “public school” for 30 years unvaccinated. She even travelled to South Africa without getting any.

    What is most fascinating is the number of people today who, like the author of this article, not figuratively, associate not being vaccinated with actually having the disease!! The un-vaccinated child poses exactly zero risk to the vaccinated. You actually have to have the disease, and THEN your precious vaccine must also fail!!

    And, so you don’t sleep at night, most public gatherings, including public schools, do not require a child to be vaccinated!!! There has always been an exemption available. So your children are actually coming into contact with un-vaccinated children!!! Look out, there is one behind you right now!!!

    Well said!

    This author like so many others is writing this story, in this style to appease one of their largest sponsors, the pharmaceutical companies.

    Born in 1965, IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE LAW in civilized countries that ALL children WILL be vaccinated for polio, mumps, measles(both types) tetanus and diphtheria. I wouldn’t allow any unvaccinated child or family in my community, they are a deadly pandemic waiting to happen. That idiot mother needs to go sit by the bedside of those children dying from measles because they are so uneducated\illiterate and selfish they deserve to see the horror their ridiculous decisions make. And yes, moron I get vaccinated EVERY 10 years, my whole life and WILL CONTINUE to update my vaccinations until I’m dead. Every anti-vaccine flat earth conspiracy theory psycho American is risking their own children and OURS by creating the PERFECT conditions for a mutation. The only good that will come from these outbreaks is America will rid itself of more and more of these idiots.No doctor/hospital/ clinic should allow the unvaccinated inside their doors. The unvaccinated should be revoked to an island they pay for and be forced to provide their own medical care. The real irony is these are same over entitled fools that will demand EVERYTHING in medical science be done if their kid gets hit by a car but will smugly let them die from the measles.

    are you ok? how does any of that make sence

    Your comment has no “sense”. She may be a bit dramatic but it is frightening for those who are old enough to remember that these diseases were devastating. Some had siblings who died or were significantly disabled. We all worked together and these diseases became a horrible thing of the past, only to have these half baked a- holes make up reasons why they should endanger their and others children. There is a reason why you don’t know the horrors, vaccines!

    Of course you were vaccinated. In 1966 people weren’t given a choice, it was just done during standard children doctors visits. It wasn’t controversial because there was no internet to allow ‘citizen scientists’ to put out all the anti vaccine nonsense and people were generally trusting of doctors because, you know, years and years of school and all.

    Children have to be from 12 to 23 months old to be vaccinated. If you do not vaccinate your child, and they consequently contract the disease that the vaccine would have prevented, they then can transmit that disease to infants too young to be vaccinated. Right now there are outbreaks of preventable diseases happening all over the country. These children are not only suffering from their parents ignorant neglect, they are putting other, younger children at risk. Yes, maybe your un-vaxed kids and the vulnerable children around them will dodge a bullet. Just as it is statistically possible for you to blindfold yourself and shoot randomly around a mall and not hit anyone. But it is a stupidly risky thing to do.

    You are clearly not a scientist and don’t understand statistics. Go back to elementary school. Also read post above about mutations and google “herd immunity”. You are not helping.

    A favorite anti-vax “gotcha”. Sadly for the anti-vaxers, they’re wrong. Everyone born in 1956 or before is considered immune to measles and mumps, and probably immune to rubella. Everyone born in 1979 or before is considered immune to chickenpox. There are no boosters required for most vaccines, the only one actually is for the Tdap/Td family and that is once EVERY 10 YEARS. Hardly such a burden on anyone.

    Agreed, some children will grow up to wonder why they aren’t vaccinated. Others don’t even get to grow up.. I get that fear is a strong tool used to commonly make the wrong choices, but it might be about damn time to let the professionals correlate data, and quit making our own conclusions in situations where at can’t fully grasp the impact of the data set.

    So much set back in general health from this. So much sadness. As long as her kids grow up she can tell them why she feels that way. But, then i guess if she’s wrong, I’m sure having to apologise at the tombstone of her own child, wrought by her own hands.. just not my idea of a happy activity.

    My hopes are, that one of these negligent parents be brought up on charges so it scares the rest of them into making the right choices! Fear works if common sense can’t be bothered.

    Why is the gov and the medical establishment so intent on demonizing those that even question the veracity of vaccines. Why is there a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program fund available for those who are injured by vaccines, if they are all safe. Why does no doctor, or pharmaceutical company not provide to patients, a list of ingredients in the vaccines they inject in patients, even if requested.

    Why do you drive to work each day or drive or ride in a car at all? The chances of getting injured in an automobile accident is greater than injury from a vaccine. The reason for the compensation fund is that we realize that the chances of injury from vaccines is not 0.

    “…question the veracity of vaccines?”

    Do you mean efficacy, as in “do they work”? Or do you mean veracity, as in “do they exist”? I’ll go with efficacy.

    Yes, they work. The scientific evidence is indisputable. No, your Googling a bunch of like-minded websites doesn’t make you a scientist, let alone an expert.

    Have you heard of any smallpox cases lately? No, because the vaccine eradicated it long, long before you were born.

    Measles were almost eradicated (in fact declared eradicated in the US in 2002, until self “educated” people like yourself decided they knew more than trained professionals that studied for years and practised for decades. Get over yourself. You’re not that smart.

    The vaccine compensation program is in place to avoid frivolous law suits. The standard is very low as compared to that which would have to be met in court. Plaintiffs would lose in court.
    The existence of the program is not an indication of any significant harm caused by vaccines.

    There is an ironic aspect that everyone here overlooks – those adults here bashing the anti- vaxxers, when did they revaccinate themselves? Vaccination does not provide a lifelong result.
    I do not care if a teenager wishes to vaccinate himselt, let him for gods sake – but leave babies out of it for at least until the bloody blood- brain barrier develops.

    What does the blood-brain barrier have to do with this topic?

    Because there *used* to be more herd immunity, adults did not need to re- vaccinate, but now that the measles, whooping cough, etc are coming back we all probably will.

    When did I revaccinate myself? Glad you asked. I had a stem cell transplant in late 2014 as part of my treatment for lymphoma. Because this wiped out and restarted my immune system, I then underwent a complete series of vaccinations just as if I were an infant. But because the MMR vaccine is a live “attenuated” virus I had to wait two years for it. I had to rely on herd immunity until then.

    And I celebrated the day I finally did. You see, I live in southern California, and just as I was finishing my transplant those measles cases appeared around Disneyland. It would be an understatement to say that I would have really been pissed had I gone through all that chemo and transplant hell only to get measles because of some moron parents who think they know better. If you don’t want vaccinated kids, then don’t have kids. At least you won’t do as much damage to others with your ignorance.

    It’s not about how big your Google is, it’s all about how you use it.

    As a new mother (my little one is almost 2 months old) I research everything! I read more than just one article on one website and multiple opinions on any given website. Basically I spend time reading and searching for as much info (pros and cons) then make my own decision based off of what I feel is best for my child in our community. We ARE in America and can make these decisions for our family, but at the end of the day we should get as much unbiased info on the matter as possible so that we can make an informed choice. It’s very scary being a mother and feeling like any decision that turns out not to be the perfect decision, you will be scrutinized for and possibly hurt your child in the long run. I just feel like we should support one another by giving as much info as possible giving these people the websites to look up rather than discourage their freedom to chose and calling each other names. Bless every mother, father, and guardian out there trying to do the right thing for their child!

    Where are you going to find unbiased information online? Considering Google tracks and filters everything you search for, and then gives you results that it thinks will persuade you to their agenda (filter bubbles are real- google even admits it on their terms and conditions), all your doing is confirming your own bias. So your ‘research’ is actually just showing you whT google thinks you want to see.
    Real research is being shown the evidence of the situation whether you agree with it or not. Have you ever thought how strange it is that both sides of the anti-vax debate can show the ‘evidence’ they are right? This is technically impossible. But not now that Google makes opinions more valuable than. Evidence.

    I think we’re well past the point where we need to show any deference whatsoever to any set of beliefs with the potential to cause irreparable harm or death to those who are too vulnerable to protect themselves from the consequences of those beliefs. Human beings are capable of all sorts of depraved acts, and I’m certain that if one searched hard enough, one could find enough pseudoscientific garbage, totally bogus or misapplied statistics, and even coordinated foreign disinformation campaigns to rationalize just about anything in their minds. But that still doesn’t equate to some sort of inviolate “right to choose” whether or not to commit those acts. There are some very harmful things that are against the law for a very good reason, and it’s actually perfectly acceptable for society to render judgement on those who commit them, and it’s perfectly reasonable to totally reject the notion that “there are valid points on both sides”, especially when there are centuries of incontrovertible evidence, actual science and just plain observable reality to let you know that whatever you’re thinking of doing is A BAD THING. And I believe that willfully refusing to vaccinate one’s children without a valid medical reason is one of them. And if someone puts their children’s health and well being at risk in service of their own ignorance, selfishness and narcissism, then as far as I’m concerned, I can call them any name I want and I’ll still sleep well at night.

    Amen, brother!! It’s because of the people vaccinating their children, that it’s become a convenience for parents who are NOT vaccinating their children. Measles are making a comeback because of the unvaccinated children, because misinformation was placed on the internet years ago, so now we have too many children at risk of getting and spreading it.

    If you are vaccinated then why are you worried about the disease?

    Darryl, in epidemiology the term is called “herd immunity” which means the following: the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population that results if a sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease, especially through vaccination: the level of vaccination needed to achieve herd immunity varies by disease but ranges from 83 to 94 percent.

    When the number falls below that 83% (Washington State outbreak, is a case in point), the contagion spreads and puts many at-risk – newborns who haven’t had the vaccine, kids with cancer whose immunity is compromised is a death sentence to those who are weak and unimmunized, anecdotes aside. The death rate due to Tylenol (yes, Tylenol) is 500 per year. We require parents to put seat belts and bike helmets on their kids. Should they be able to opt out there, too?There is ZERO evidence of autism being caused by vaccines – and it has been tested continually. This distrust of science and internet mis-information is not only ignorant – it has become dangerous to the kids of these parents and to others.

    The reason people are scared of the virus even though we are vaccinated,is because when that virus is still there, it has the chance to mutate (viruses mutate a lot) and become resistant to the antibodies the vaccine helped you make. If this happens, the whole virus could spark a huge outbreak and nobody will be safe. Even vaccinated people. Also, take natural selection into affect with this. Say they use a certain pesticide on a crop field. Say a few bugs have a mutation that makes the bugs resistant to the pesticide. After all the bugs that don’t have that mutation die, they’ll be the only ones left, to repopulate the field with pesticide-resistant bugs that can’t be killed. This is like viruses and bacteria. These things could happe. That’s why we want to eradicate the diseases while we still can.

    I think this is a bunch of bull. Geared towards the support of the CDC and the fueling big pharma. Global eradication of polio? Yet for some reason this vaccine is pushed on us? Flu shots? I haven’t had one since I was not forced to and out of almost 15 years I haven’t had it a single year. I dont agree with any of it and with good education and proper hygiene it shouldnt be a concern. Take care of yourself and stop relying on pseudo chemicals and subjecting yourselves to being lab rats.

    Polio wasn’t eradicated worldwide, but it has been immensely reduced.
    Measles were eradicated in the US in 2002, but have come back, mostly due to unvaccinated US travellers and immigrants to the US.

    Polio was caused by environmental toxins, most likely the heavy use of toxic DDT pesticides everywhere. It has nothing to do with vaccines. If anything, the vaccines caused polio in many cases, but they were given other names, like Acute Flaccid Paralysis.

    Polio existed and was documented well before DDT was ever used. Polio continues to exist today even though DDT is no longer used. Your comment is 100% false

    I grew up long before there was a vaccine for measles. Somehow I missed being exposed enough to measles to even build up antibodies, let alone get sick.
    A significant percentage of people who contract measles die or are permanently harmed. Childhood diseases are generally more severe for adults than for children. I can find no information on the severity for an elderly person who contracts measles, but the possibility is frightening. Medicare, oddly, does not cover the MMR vaccine. So now, in my 70’s, I am going to get vaccinated and pay for it out of pocket.

    Seven children! I suspect that Lindenberger’s mother neither believes in global warming nor the risks of overpopulation.

    Whether “for” or “against” certain immunizations at a particular age, you should first ask yourself how many hours have you spent researching the subject from credible sources like the CDC, FDA, clinical trials, research papers, manufacturer pamphlets, etc. and comparing what you’ve learned?
    Then you can make a informed decision about this for yourself/your family. Or less important, comment on this post without sounding like a dumbass. Like I said, for or against, you have no clue why your even saying what you’re saying other than the opinion bias you’ve formed from someone else’s opinion that hasn’t spent the time either. #clowns

    The fact that you think the CDC and FDA are “credible sources” says it all right there! 🤣

    You might not trust the american health organization. Fine.

    But are you SERIOUSLY saying 100% of all health organization, around the entire world, as well as 100% of scientists studying diseases, are ALL part of an international conspiracy, and have been ALL part of it in the last 134 YEARS of scientific research on vaccines?

    And that somehow, not a single country, investigative journalist or scientist broke out of it ever? During more than a century?

    This is completely delusional, brought upon us by social media, where people think they’re “smarter” than before since they must be “bypassing” Mainstream Media. Little did they know they’re simply being fed snake oil by the same old conspiracy peddlers: essential oils and magical pills.

    The anti-vaxx will cause the deaths of thousands of children, so laws will be voted to exclude them, so they’ll run off in isolated communes, where they’ll eventually die from preventable diseases and blame it all on the magical Big Pharma because of course it’s always a conspiracy causing all the wrongs in their life.

    It happened before with hippies against modern medicine, who let their children die by refusing to give them antibiotics and other life-saving medicine, only using magical rocks for “spiritual” healing. Spiritually healed, biologically dead – this is the future anti-vaxxers have chosen for their children.

    When your first child loses all their platelets and then all the hair from a vaccination, then what? The next develops asthma after the same shot. The last two are healthy, unvaccinated, and have not had any further diseases through cleanliness and exercising and eating fresh foods as much as possible. Others around us get sick but we have few bouts of sickness and no other major diseases. The word is choice. How can people be publicly shamed for their choice? Would you like to be refused entry because you made a choice in a free country?

    You are allowed to make your choice to protect your child based on what you believe – as is everyone else. In most people’s belief – based on the majority of scientific research – not vaccinating your child makes your child a danger to theirs. Not wanting their kids around non-vaccinated children is just parents protecting their children, just as you believe not vaccinating means you are protecting yours.

    Not wanting to pay a copay for 7 different kids immunizations is certainly a reason to risk killing others children, right?

    How is this level of ignorance allowed to breed?


    How vaccination saves lives
    Because of vaccinations, we no longer see smallpox, and polio has almost been eradicated. No wonder vaccination is considered a modern miracle.

    Vaccination is one of the greatest breakthroughs in modern medicine. No other medical intervention has done more to save lives and improve quality of life.

    As an educated scientist, I actually think this woman should be legally liable in her community for any deaths from the contagious diseases, she refuses to immunize against. She also should be looked at for child endangerment of her other children. (seven?????) It is extremely irresponsible. All yes ALL real science show immunizations are invaluable and probably the one dominant reason why life expectancy has increased by 30 years in the last century. At least there is some level of intelligence in the educational community, A student is refused entry into most nursing and medical school programs without being vaccinated. Thank god for some semblance of intelligence and not falling for stupid, unsubstantiated and “new” age crap science. I’m glad her kids aren’t around mine, and Glad that Darwin will win out. (survival of the fittest, natural selection). Don’t they give out awards for this every year? (Darwin awards).

    Strange logic for a scientist: “this woman should be legally liable in her community for any deaths from the contagious diseases, she refuses to immunize against”. If there *are* any, amongst any but her own kids, wouldn’t that disprove the efficacy of everybody else’s vaccinations? I believe in vaccinations too, but I noticed that for a particular ‘required’ one that came up suddenly in New York, most doctors and nurses there refused to get it themselves. Obviously vaccines aren’t *always* safe, and sometimes the pros know it.

    You do realize that some people *can’t* vaccinate, I hope? Cancer patients, people with HIV, and others whose immune systems are compromised are unable to do so. Those are the people who that woman is putting in danger by her irresponsible choices. As someone who works in the criminal justice system, I would be more than happy to arrest her for criminally negligent homicide should her stupidity kill someone.

    Immuno-compromised people can die from a cold, or from other common bacteria. They have the unfortunate burden to keep themselves free from harm that others with a strong immune system are protected.

    Small children must also be protected. Keeping them away from the public until they have proper immunity is the way it has been done for decades. Not injecting their tiny bodies with known neuro-toxic agents.

    Why is it sane to vaccinate an infant on their first day with Hepatitis B when there is little if any risk of them coming in contact with it. If that makes sense to you they why don’t you vaccinate for rabies?

    The reason for the vaccination at birth is due to the bacteria in the mother’s vagina.

    Not a scientist but sometimes people are too young to get vaccines and could catch an illness from these people and there are people who can’t get vaccinated due to health issues and these are part of the reason vaccines are so important…herd immunity helps protect those who can’t be vaccinated.

    Those “reactions” that parents are so “concerned “ with can be addressed by discussion with the doctor as most reactions are due to the base medium (eggs, etc) which can be changed, plus the dosage of the shot can be changed especially with those vaccines that need multiple shots. With proper monitoring the vaccines are safe against reactions.

    I’m really glad that the anti-vaxxers are all beginning to gather together in pockets around the country— that way we can better ensure that they don’t infect the rest of us with their diseases (and complete ignorance).

    Since the rest of us are vaccinated, how can we catch their diseases? We have the right to protect ourselves against the diseases and they have the right not to, so chill out…

    So many people forget about the immunocompromised people in the world. They CANNOT receive the vaccine even if they wanted to. Or children who are too young to receive the vaccine. Thanks for exposing my friend’s son with cancer to more than his cancer! Thanks for exposing my toddler to these diseases because she is too young to get the vaccine just yet! Don’t be ignorant to others who don’t have the vaccines regardless of choice. The argument of “you are vaccinated, so you shouldn’t worry about the anti-vax” is VOID! Stay away from those who cannot receive them due to medical reasons. Or do better research and realize you have no anti-vax argument. Stop relying on the self proclaimed lies of Andrew Wakefield. You want to see what vaccines really do? Actually go to college and study it for yourself. Until then, stop reading garbage on the internet and listening to people who have no expertise in the subject.

    I think the point is that when the disease is contracted by a group of individuals who have not been vaccinated, it can mutate into a form that the vaccinated are not protected against. When the herd vaccination percentage is maintained, that can’t happen. So yes, being unvaccinated does pose a risk to those who have already been vaccinated because it provides the living Petri dish that the germ needs to mutate.
    We have the power of choice in this country, insofar as it doesn’t adversely affect the welfare of others. We do not have total freedom to do what we want (yell “fire” in a crowded theater…)If your child is one of the very very small percentage that does have a reaction to a vaccine, that would be sufficient for you to make the choice not to continue. But to not vaccinate because of that risk? I would argue that you’d better not drive anywhere, because that risk is many many times greater, and the same people seem to ignore that risk…

    Are these young people old enough to be sufficiently pressured by their peers and the uninformed? Or are they truly old enough to understand the scientifically valid issues regarding the pros and cons of vaccination?
    Vaccination carries significant risk. “Herd immunity” is unfairly presented as a valid argument despite a tremendous weight of respected research and epidemiological study.
    The fear, spread in large part by the sensational media, is that the unvaccinated present an unacceptable risk to the rest of the population, even those vaccinated. My hope is that we will get to a time where the decision remains with the parent and is not influenced by the uninformed purveyors of fear and panic, much (if not most) of this fear, completely unsupported by scientific research. I “fear” that this will not happen as long as corporate interests sway the decision-makers.

    There are all sorts of questions that should be posed, such as “is a 15 day-old newborn infant old enough to handle potential exposure to the virus that causes measles, because even though his pro-vaccine parents may have every intention of having him immunized, he’s not even old enough to receive his first dose of MMR?” Or “should children and teens even have the chance to survive until some woefully ignorant person on the internet decides they’re old enough to understand what they claim are ‘scientifically valid issues’?” Absolutely nothing you’ve asserted has any basis in fact whatsoever. Immunocompromised adults and pro-vaccine parents of infants too young to begin receiving immunizations DO NOT get to decide whether to receive the benefits of herd immunity, which is actually an empirically proven scientific concept no matter what you, Andrew Wakefield or “some guy with a blog” says. Would you care to explain to either of the aforementioned parties why THEY don’t get to exercise this sacrosanct so-called “choice” whether or not to be protected, but people like Jill Wheeler do?
    Oh and BTW, with regards to the first question posed above: the answer is no, they’re not. To infants, measles is a hell of a lot more than a “rash”.

    It makes me sad that her response to his choice to get vaccinated is “it’s a slap in the face” as opposed to “I’m proud of you for doing your own research and being adult enough to make your own decision for yourself. This shows that I brought you up to be capable of making your own decisions, even if I don’t agree with them.” Instead, she’s made agreeing with her a moral issue. This kind of manipulation has long-term effects, and not just on vaccinations.

    I’m glad someone else pointed this out. That section really left a bad taste in my mouth. With all the fights being waged to allow women greater autonomy over their own bodies I can’t understand why she doesn’t see this as her son simply saying “I disagree with you over what should be done to my body” and leave it at that. The emotional manipulation she’s going for is so totally damaging it’s disturbing.

    I agree with you Jennifer. Labeling and demeaning those who choose not to follow the popular route threatens our freedom. Many physicians and “health” systems today are tainted by big Pharma. Because of this and because of questionable research, many of us are also moving towards more natural medicines and foods.

    Willful ignorance is a right and to some in this post-truth era a badge of honor. Anti-vaxers join a crowded field with flat earthers, fake moon landers, Lizard people and a panoply of Info Wars inspired conspiracy theorists where you can’t trust doctors, science….or mom.

    Your right to your ignorant conspiracy beliefs stop when you threaten others. And anti-vaxxers threaten everyone. We once considered measles eradicated in the USA, but look how the anti-vaxxers brought it back! When you endanger my family, your ignorance needs to be outlawed, or at least keep your children at home and away from decent people.

    This article could have benefited from looking around the developed world as to what other countries are doing with vaccination reticence. The prime example that pertains to the USA is Australia. There, a growing concern with falling vaccination rates led to policies that have arrested this decline, and led to an increasing rate of vaccinated children in anti-vax hotspots.

    How? Anti-vax families are denied access to pubic schools, pre-schools and daycare. Most private schools and facilities have followed suit, because they will also lose funding and access to facilities based on un-vaccinated children. They have government stipends and welfare docked or removed. The are denied access to extracurricular activities. All this is denied until they agree to have their children vaccinated.

    What is lost in this debate is that it isn’t just the un-vaccinated children who are put at risk, but the already vaccinated and herd immunity of the community that is put at risk by failure to vaccinate. The community needs to have a very high rate of vaccination for herd immunity to work, and even vaccinated individuals can sometimes catch these deadly diseases if herd immunity fails. Its is simply too great a danger to ignore, and so Australia’s authorities are no longer willing to tolerate this dangerous selfishness on the part of anti-vaxxers.

    Lindenberger’s mother should be free to make the choices she has made, but she should have to live with the consequences, and those consequences should reflect the severity of what she is doing. If you want to not vaccinate your children, then you really have no business in trying to have your children live amongst the un-vaccinated. It is too dangerous for the the rest of the community.

    Yes, I so agree with everything you said! I wish so much that our government would weigh in and put the same safety measures in place. People who have the right to choose not to vaccinate should be kept away from those of us willing to take the MINIMAL risk that does come with vaccines in order to be a part of our society. If they don’t want to vaccinate, that’s fine. But to be so damned selfish, to remove other’s choice to be protected by our collective vaccination is very frustrating. A cancer patient, person with true vaccine allergies, or other contraindication etc.. has to weigh the risk to go out and do public things because of this misinformed fad.

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