Teenagers are turning to the internet for advice and defying their anti-vaxxer parents by getting vaccines in secret.
The Courier-Mail reported that teenagers in Queensland, Australia, where kids as young as 15 can get immunized without parental consent, are getting immunized in secret despite their parents’ opposition.
Less than 89 percent of Queensland teens are vaccinated, below the national target of 95 percent.
"My parents denied me vaccinations as a child. Today, I was finally able to take my health into my own hands!" one woman wrote as she posted her first ever immunization record on social media.
"Thank you for doing this!" one commenter replied. "I have autoimmune disorders that make my vaccinations pretty much useless, and herd immunity allows me to survive without fearing these preventable diseases."
US teens turn to internet:
The Washington Post reported that Americans teens have also been turning to online outlets like Reddit for advice and getting vaccinated after years of parental opposition.
“My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme,” Ethan Lindenberger, an 18-year-old from Norwalk, Ohio, wrote on Reddit in November.
“I looked into it; it was clear there was way more evidence in defense of vaccines,” he told The Post, adding that his mother refused to accept the facts.
“It was like him spitting on me, 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,’” his mom told the online science magazine Undark.
Lindenberger, a high school senior, received a cocktail of vaccines for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza and HPV in December.
Another teen, from Washington, wrote that their mother would not allow them to get vaccinated.
“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.
At least 56 people in the Washington-Oregon area have contracted measles stemming from an outbreak in Clark County, which is just north of Portland.
“Measles is exquisitely contagious. If you have an under-vaccinated population, and you introduce a measles case into that population, it will take off like a wildfire,” Clark County Public Health Director Alan Melnick told The Post.
Lindenberger told The Post that he worries about his 2-year-old sister who his mother still refuses to immunize.
“It breaks my heart that she could get measles and she’d be done,” he said.