Unvaccinated Teens Are Fact-Checking Their Parents And Trying To Get Shots On Their Own


Ethan Lindenberger, frustrated by years of arguments about his mother’s anti-vaccination stance, staged a quiet defection via Reddit.

The Norwalk, Ohio, teenager needed advice, he said, on how to inoculate himself against infectious disease and his family’s dogma. At 18, he was old enough, Lindenberger explained. He wanted to get vaccinated. But he didn’t know how.

“My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme,” Lindenberger wrote days before Thanksgiving. “But, because of their beliefs I’ve never been vaccinated for anything, god knows how I’m still alive.”

As anti-vaccination movements metastasize amid outbreaks of dangerous disease, internet-savvy teenagers are fact-checking their parents’ decisions in a digital health reawakening – and seeking their own treatments in bouts of family defiance.

In three states, at least three self-described teenagers told Reddit they have a common problem: Their parents are staunchly opposed to vaccination, and they fear for their health if they do not take action. Different state laws affect how old minors need to be to make their own medical decisions.

Lindenberger’s post drew more than 1,000 comments, including detailed information on navigating the health care system in one post from someone who identified as a nurse.

The tension over vaccines started years ago, the teen told The Washington Post on Sunday, after he began to notice his mother posting anti-vaccination videos on social media. His friends were getting vaccinated. So what was happening in his house?

Lindenberger read scientific papers and journals. He pulled up Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies on his phone at the dinner table, hoping his mother would relent and get him and his four younger siblings – now ages 16, 14, 5 and 2 – vaccinated.

“I looked into it, it was clear there was way more evidence in defense of vaccines,” he said. His mother resisted and claimed there were autism risks from vaccines, a common argument used by anti-vaccination groups that has been widely debunked.

His mother, Jill Wheeler, was angered by his pursuit, she told Undark, an online science magazine. “It was like him spitting on me,” she told the site, “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.’ ”

Wheeler did not respond to a request for comment.

In Ohio and 16 other states, parents can opt out of required vaccines for philosophical reasons. All but three states allow the exemption on religious grounds. All 50 allow it for medical reasons.

Late last year, Lindenberger, now a high school senior, confided in a pastor, who suggested he was legally free to make decisions.

On Dec. 17, he walked into an Ohio Department of Heath office in Norwalk and received vaccines for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza and HPV, according to a shot record viewed by The Post.

He has shots listed for tetanus and hepatitis B, administered when he was 2 years old, but Wheeler told Undark he received the tetanus shot after he accidentally cut himself. The other must be a paperwork mistake, she said.

Lindenberger said he has seen a growing discussion online about teenagers emboldened to make their own health decisions and pursue vaccinations.

In Washington, a self-described underage teen wrote in January that his or her mother would not allow vaccines.

“I, as well as my siblings, hold the ideology that vaccines are a public health issue, and a personal responsibility to the benefit of the population, not a right you can revoke from your children,” the teenager wrote.

Washington state has become a battleground between anti-vaccine groups pushing for relaxed regulations and concerned parents watching a measles outbreak strike the Pacific Northwest, a well-documented anti-vaccination refuge.

At least 56 people in Washington and Oregon have contracted measles – a potentially deadly disease for children – in an outbreak near Portland, Oregon, triggering a public health emergency in neighboring Clark County, Washington.

“Measles is exquisitely contagious. If you have an undervaccinated population and you introduce a measles case into that population, it will take off like a wildfire,” Clark County Public Health Director Alan Melnick said.

Another teenager, who in September identified himself as a 15-year old from Minnesota, asked Reddit for help to parse state laws in an effort to gain immunization himself. Minnesota is a state where guardians can opt out of required vaccinations if they philosophically object to them.

Lindenberger suggested that to empower teenagers and get more people immunized, states should lower the age of consent required for vaccinations instead of pushing for stricter immunization laws and dropping exemptions.

The tension has complicated his home life. He says he regrets insulting the intelligence of his parents in the original Reddit post and urges other teenagers to be transparent and positive with parents when seeking permission to immunize.

The stakes are high for his four younger siblings. His mother has already indicated that she will not allow his 16-year old brother to be immunized, although he wants it, Lindenberger said.

He also has a 2-year-old sister, whose age exposes her to numerous infectious health risks.

“It breaks my heart that she could get measles and she’d be done,” Lindenberger said.


(c) 2019, The Washington Post  



  1. Fake news by the Compost. Totally misleading headline. 2 girls, and you make it sound like there are masses of teenagers going after their Parents.

  2. In the wake of the Plotkin Deposition being posted online, the pro vaccine propaganda machine is working at warp speed to try and contain the damage. Unfortunately for the pro vaxxers, Dr Stanley Plotkin confirmed what we anti vaxxers knew long ago. There has never been a single comprehensive short term or long terms study comparing all health outcomes and all cause mortality between a fully unvaccinated population and a vaccinated population. The most basic safety science has never been done on a single vaccine let alone the entire schedule.Instead society has exchanged mild childhood diseases for a whole set of neurodevelopmental and autoimmune diseases. Not a good tradeoff.

  3. It sure makes lots of sense for a “Jewish” media outlet to incite kids against their parents.
    Just for the record, I have such a friend who “Fact Checked” his parents and got vaccinated when he became a legal adult. The child/ adult when on to develop life-long health issues (which I cannot divulge due to privacy concerns) and never vaccinated again. Not himself, and not (gulp) his children.

    • Absolutely true. He even grew two additional heads, which addressed each other as “Fred” and “Barney” when they conversed among themselves. They often used to discuss halachik issues such as “Dino d’malchusa”, which is the Bedrock of their understanding. Oh, and a freilichen Adar Rishon to you, too.

  4. I’m really not sure which fake news source you are getting your data from but just quoting some story is anecdotal at best!
    According to the the data however, the Paw Research Center issued a report which stated that young adults are more likely to say vaccinating children should be a parental choice. Some 41% of 18- to 29-year-olds say parents should be able to decide whether or not their child gets vaccinated in stark contrast to older groups. Furthermore they concluded that younger adults are less inclined than older generations to believe vaccines should be required for all children.
    So much for your great story….

  5. Are we supposed to learn from teenagers who are as dumb as they come and think they know better than their parents? The Washington Post Enemies of the People with their Fake News outlets think of us as low IQ’d who cannot do any research. Eventually, even the low IQ’d will see the light and wake up to the truth of these dangerous vaccines that can cause major injuries and even death. All these measles outbreaks in adults is best proof that vaccines do not have life immunity, while with the natural childhood measles one does have immunity for life and hardly ever caused death in children.
    Yo 10:26, I believe your story 100%.

    • both my brother and I were vaccinated and developed serious diseases around that age of 8-9, the same thing, and my brother died a couple years ago. we both came to beleive later in life that it was the vaccines that caused our illnesses and have suffered immeasurably. i guess we were in one of the groups that “falls through the cracks” in adverse affects that the pro-vaccination propaganda campaign that media and medical establishments sweep under the rug.

    • I’m surprised Arizona State Senator Paul Boyer didn’t get a death threat or something like that for coming out. Just like the senator in Texas who said he wants to study the correlation between autism and vaccines and a week later pulled back for obvious reasons?!

  6. This is fascinating. The same article appeared in the secular media. The majority of comments unlike here and other Jewish websites, is staunchly pro vaccine.

    • Makes sense for secular media to be staunchly pro vaccine. After all, where there’s Torah there is chochmah, which the secular are obviously lacking. Religious Jews who are still vaccinating are those whose children were b”H not injured or those who can’t be bothered with the research and (foolishly) leave it up to their doctors, Big Pharma’s salesmen.

      • The rashba in teshuvos says das bal habas hepech das Torah I can assume that those posts that are against vaccines are from Bali batim as many gedolim say you have to vaccinate. And I have never heard of a gadol who says you should not.

    • Well I can list you a couples of websites that have such articles and the bloggers are even more anti than here. As a matter of fact- there are non-Jewish schools that there that have 100% vaccine exemptions.
      See attached link http://rochester.nydatabases.com/database/vaccination-rates-new-york-schools
      Sort the column of religious exemptions from greatest to least. See for yourself who stand on the top.
      Then you can check out the comments posted for the following video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NACBHtFMllA

      If you do your research, you may be surprised to note that most upper class, rich, family, value oriented secular families chose to opt out of vaccines.

      In conclusion, I ask you- who is more anti, us or them?

  7. The most fascinating part of this is that we are 10 comments in and no one used the word sheeple. I guess the antivaxxers are sleeping in this morning. Or maybe they are trying to come up with some other buzzword as they realized that sheeple has been played out for years.

    • Interesting you’re saying that because many of us have noticed that it’s the vaxxers, those who cannot defend themselves because they don’t have the resources to do so, have been calling anti-vaxxers roidef and reshaim and whatnot who are sleeping. In all these articles I’ve yet to find a curse or nasty expression from any anti-vaxxer. The term ‘sheeple’ means nothing more than being docile or easily led. It’s not a malicious word.

    • As a matter of fact after seeing a frightening incident after a vaccine, I chose to wait off with vaccines right now until I do more extensive research. So, you may call me an anti-vaxxer for now and I don’t even know what this word means!

  8. I also noticed that (really!)
    However, “Anonymous at February 11, 2019 at 2:39 am” is our sheeple’er – guess our lazy Rooskie troll finally decided to change his standard insult. For his co-trolls’ sake, I hope he changes his socks more often than he changes his insults.

  9. Seems too me the children are smarter than the parents. Whoever chooses not to vaccinate in this day and age are really insane,misguided fools.

  10. I have posted this in the past, yet I will post again, in case there are new people who may be interested in reading facts. (Some new links were added at the end of post.) Let everyone for themselves decide what the right thing to do-
    So busy with making a Chilul Hashem. Just so that you know
    1- there are NON -Jewish Private Schools out there that
    have 100% religious exempt. That means that no student in their school is vaccinated. You can check this out by googling “vaccination rates in school’s database.”

    2. There are public schools in the zip codes that the students were expelled from due to the outbreak, that have greater percentage of non vaxxed Children. They weren’t expelled. Don’t you see some sort of target here? That brings us to –

    3. The one behind this fiasco is Tom Frieden- who has a prestigious job in the CDC. Guess what!? He too was behind the Metzitz B’peh situation. He tried banning all Bris Milah! Is that a clear target?

    4. Since when does the DOH care so much about our health? Aren’t they allowing foods or the likes that are completely unhealthy to be sold on the shelves of stores? Why don’t they ban those kind of things that clearly lead to all kind of issues? Whether, Physically or mentally (ADHD…). So why are they desperate here for you to vaccinate-

    5. There are major filthy rich investors involved and supporting studies done on vaccines. Did you know, that any doctor that has patients completely in compliance, gets $400 per patient? Wake up! Don’t you smell the business deal- they’re gaining on you? Don’t you see why it is so important for them that you vaccinate and are completely up to date?

    6. Attached find a link to which you’ll see the government documents stating 1,570 vaccine injuries which occurred in NJ alone in the year of 2008. https://njvaccinechoice.com/vaers-data/ – After reading this do you still feel vaccine injuries are a one in a million chance. Do you need more proof than that?!
    7. Attached here you can read testimonials of real people in the Jewish community alone that agreed to vaccinate. They followed their doctors blindly- just like most of us- and learned the hard way. https://www.shmakolainu.com/testimonials/ .

    8. You can watch moving videos on the website http://www.vaxxed.com
    As long as you weren’t affected Baruch Hashem it is easy to talk, shout, negate and condemn. Hashem should help you should never be tested and your temimos/luck should work for you, but these parents who you are booing have to live with their disabled children or unfortunately the memory of their children day in and day out. So, next time before you condemn someone, maybe think do I know all the facts or am I just following the DOH, CDC, and doctors blindly. Because, just remember they are not God and there is a reason they all have good fatality insurance plans. Everyone can make mistakes and malpractices.
    And in conclusion if you really are interested in studying and researching the matter, below you might find some interesting articles and facts that were proven about vaccines.

    1. Attached here are 20 vaccine fact that doctors are required to give you before vaccinating. Why they don’t give it to you- is clear. But next time you vaccinate ask them to see it.
    2. Here you can read why a pediatrician stopped vaccinating her children with the flu shot. https://bentonintegrative.blogspot.com/2017/10/why-this-doctor-doesnt-get-her-flu-shot.html
    3. Attached here is a must read! 12 practicing doctors who use to consider themselves “vaccine bullies” and at some point, or another came to the realization that something is very off and stopped vaccinate or pushing vaccines on their patients. https://www.bellybelly.com.au/health-lifestyle/doctors-speaking-out-about-vaccination/
    4. Attached here find an article printed by the Jewish Press in the year of 2013 by William Handler. He studied the topic of vaccines in depth. https://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/the-measles-scare-and-cdc-politics/2013/07/10/
    5. Google ingredients in vaccines. You may be shocked to find out some of the ingredients are pig fat, live aborted fetus cells and monkey tissues. That is without mentioning all the aluminum and metals…
    6. Let me tell you an interesting fact about the polio vaccine and the disease. The first polio outbreak was in 1945. That’s when the government sprayed DDT (pesticide) in our environment. The vaccine has been invented 10 years later in 1955, by that time the government realized the damage the DDT spray was doing and stopped spraying it. Causing the cases of polio to dramatically drop. In other words by the time the vaccine was created polio was already being eradicated other ways.

    7. Here watch how Dr. S. Plotkin says clearly in a deposition under oath how he was involved in creating numerous vaccines. In order to create them he used 76 aborted HEALTHY fetus cells. He says that he takes issue with religious beliefs and goes on to say I quote, “Vaccination is always under attack by religious zealots that believe that the will off God includes death and disease.” He admits to being an atheist. This is mind boggling. We are putting our health in the hands of these people https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NACBHtFMllA . Then in part II Attorney asks, “Isn’t it also the reason careful preclinical studies using inert placebo should be used before licensure?” Plotkin replies, “It would be ideal to do so, but one would have to would have to be very large studies and covering different age groups and by and large those data come out much later after EXPERIENCE in the vaccine use in thousands or millions of people.” Then basically, you’re helping them with the study by using your children as a guinea pig. They also talk about the autism relation. part II https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xj_jozfvjuU .

    8. Attached here watch Dr. Bob Sears explain how “scary” the measles is -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnpT7lJlVxY

    9. Here watch a study done by the CDC about the DTAP https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qR8evyK5RA
    Just as a by the way most people that honestly researched this topic in depth either because they were unsure what to do, or just as a hobby began seeing some falsehood and stopped vaccinating.

    The main thing is that whatever you do you should have Syata Dshmaya and Hashem (not our doctors, CDC or DOH) should always keep Yidishe Kinderlach safe and sound.

  11. I just have one question, If vaccines are 100% safe and so beneficial, than why is the CDC so fearful from anyone who does research regarding the topic? History has shown us that anyone to instrumental or popular has broached the topic or attempted research was threatened with their life, or imprisonment, hence the Wakefield saga, or the Texas senator..


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