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Though it’s technically always been there, the anti-vaccination movement seems to have reached a scale and ferocity that had previously never been seen. Certain communities have chosen to opt out of vaccinations in the fear that they may be some kind of government conspiracy, or that they may be a vessel for which autism can erupt in their children. While this is obviously untrue, the collective minds of these communities have yet to be eased. But there are some individuals within these communities that value vaccines, as one should, as a way to preserve the safety of themselves and those around them. There’s just one problem: they can’t get vaccinated on their own. Not yet, anyway.
Desperate Kids Reach Out In The Name Of Self-Preservation
You can find these types of posts scattered across Reddit. Since there’s no official community dedicated for the teen children (or young children) of anti-vaxxers (yet), they have had to resort to using different subreddits to facilitate their requests for information, such as /r/LegalAdvice and /r/TooAfraidToAsk. This hasn’t hindered them very much, however: most people were sympathetic and happy to offer them whatever help they could. And rightfully so: due to these science-denying communities of anti-vaccination, outbreaks of measles are now occurring at higher rates than previous years. Perhaps the most well-known story of any of these kids seeking help is that of Ethan Lindenberger. For pretty much his entire life, his mother, Jill Wheeler, had been vehemently against vaccinations. So, Ethan took to Reddit for a solution to his lack of inoculation and finally decided to get vaccinated at the age of 18, against his mother’s clear opposition to him doing so. The story has since blown up, making headlines nationwide as an inspirational tale of rebellion for the sake of good health.
What To Do If You’re Not Vaccinated
While that’s all well and good, I’m not here just to report the news. Fear not; I’m going to make sure that you too can get vaccinated against the machine. Whether you’re an adult that’s never been vaccinated for whatever reason or a minor currently living under the roof of an anti-vax parent, here’s a compilation of the some of the best resources for keeping yourself and those around you safe. Let’s start with the minors. Unfortunately, there isn’t much available to you if you’re parents will not give their legal permission to get you vaccinated aside from forgery (don’t do that unless you want to spend three years in jail and/or shell out 5000 dollars). But, if you’re lucky enough to live in one of the fifteen states that allow it, you can have yourself evaluated by your health care provider to see if you’re a “mature minor.” If they find that you are, then congratulations: you can vaccinate yourself at your own request at virtually any age. If you don’t live in one of those states, however, things are going to get a little more complicated and you’ll be a little less likely to be successful. The most recommended course of action, if you can’t convince your parents yourself, is to seek the assistance of a school nurse or pediatrician. Ask them to discuss it with your parents, and they’ll likely be more than willing to try and persuade them. The only other course of action is to take your parents to court for emancipation, but honestly, that’s far more trouble than it’s worth. Otherwise, you’ll just have to wait until you reach that age where the government decides that you magically transform into an adult (18 in the United States).
If already 18 years old, then start celebrating. Getting every vaccine you want is going to be a simple and easy process because you’re legally able to do so with your own consent. First, obviously, you’re are going to want to make sure that you have a doctor or pediatrician. If you don’t, you should probably get on that ASAP, if not just for vaccination, then for your wellbeing in general. To get the ball rolling, there’s only one easy step: get in contact with your doctor/pediatrician and schedule an appointment. When they ask you what the purpose of your appointment will be, simply tell them that you’ve never been vaccinated and that you would like to solve that problem. If they don’t ask you what the purpose of your appointment will be, mention it anyway: it’ll likely allow the doctor to better prepare his/herself for getting you vaccinated (unless you don’t mind spending some extra time at the doctor’s office). Once you’re there, your doctor will review your medical records and recommend all of the vaccines he/she thinks you should get. For maximum protection, just say yes to all of them. The more, the merrier. However, if you’re looking for just the essentials, don’t worry: we’re about to cover that.
The “Essential Vaccines” Starter Pack
There are quite a few vaccines that are absolutely essential to get, both as children and as adults. The essentials are the DTaP vaccine, the polio vaccine, the Hib vaccine, the Hepatitis B vaccine, and the pneumococcal disease vaccine. DTaP stands for “diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis,” and as the name would suggest, it protects against all of those potentially life-threatening diseases. Now, even though we listed the Hib vaccine as being essential, it’s meant only for strengthening children against until they develop their own antibodies as an adult, so if you’re an adult, it won’t be of much use to you. Give it to your kids, though. What will be useful for you, however, is the annual flu vaccine and the MMR vaccine. The flu vaccine is annual because the disease mutates frequently, rendering the previous year’s vaccine useless. The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, and is the cornerstone of a lot of anti-vax movements. That’ll only make it that much sweeter to get it.