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“It's stupid and I've had countless arguments." Teen with anti-vax mum gets vaccinated at 18.

The son of a staunch anti-vaxxer in the US took his 18th birthday as a chance to catch up on the vaccinations he’d missed out on in his youth, defying his mother’s wishes and taking a stand against the anti-vax movement.

Ethan Lindenberger from Ohio never received his vaccinations at school because his mother was convinced by online information that falsely claimed they were linked to autism and brain damage.

Malcolm Turnbull speaks to Mamamia about the troubling rise of anti-vaxxers. Post continues after.

“I grew up not knowing that you go to the health department and get a shot in your shoulder in your upper arm for a bunch of really big diseases that could have a lot of really bad side effects and a lot of bad implications,” Ethan told CNN.

So when he turned 18, he decided to take it upon himself to seek protection against these serious diseases and infections, such as hepatitis.

“I was doing it for my safety and the safety of others,” he said.

Ethan’s mum, Jill Wheeler, had become opposed to the idea of vaccinating her now-teenage child after reading a series of blogs and websites, Ethan claimed.

Reaching out on Reddit initially, Ethan had asked the online community whether he needed permission to get vaccinated since turning 18, placing himself firmly in opposition of his parents.

“My parents are kind of stupid and don’t believe in vaccines. Now that I’m 18, where do I go to get vaccinated? Can I get vaccinated at my age?,” he asked.

“(They) think vaccines are some kind of government scheme. It’s stupid and I’ve had countless arguments over the topic. But, because of their beliefs I’ve never been vaccinated for anything, god knows how I’m still alive,” he posted.

Ethan said he'd had "countless arguments" with his mother on the topic. Image: Facebook.

About a month later, the post was updated to announce he had received shots for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza and HPV.

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“I saw that there were a lot of people with different opinions, and as I explored those opinions, I came to the conclusion that they were good and beneficial,” Ethan explained to GMA of his mature decision.

He added that a public health emergency declared in Washington State following a measles outbreak aided his decision, protecting himself and others from the disease which can be fatal for young children.

But while he had often argued about the topic with his mother growing up, Jill was convinced it was merely a "rebellious teen" phase that he would grow out of.

“My mum had always known I disagreed with her and figured that was going to pass, but it didn’t. When I started looking into it myself, it became very apparent that there was a lot more evidence in defence of vaccinations, in their favour,” he told NPR, adding that he is booked in to have more shots this month.

Ethan has younger siblings, who he hopes will get vaccinated too.

"Obviously, it scares me a little bit, but I'm going to try and do my best to convince my parents that they should and hope that works," he said.

The Australian Government explains that all vaccines are heavily tested and trialled before they become available to the public. They are also closely monitored for safety by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

In addition to this, the Department of Health has produced a fact sheet which explains where the misunderstanding surrounding autism and vaccinations came from.

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