Obviously this is an emotional and controversial topic. I am pro-vaccine and my two children have had all the recommended vaccinations in the timeline proposed by the American Medical Association. I have several friends who believe their kids will acquire natural immunity and don’t need extra chemicals in their bodies. An old high school buddy swears her child developed PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections) after receiving infant vaccinations. Though the cause of PANDAS is known to be related to Strep infections, she’s not buying it. Yet another friend blamed her daughter’s neurological disorder on the HPV vaccine (Gardasil). Doctors later diagnosed her with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome due to a softball injury.
The Face of the Movement
Ohio teen Ethan Lindenberger has been featured on CNN, Fox News, Good Morning America, and more. After turning to Reddit for advice on obtaining vaccinations, his story has gone viral. Teens are scouring the internet and reaching out to each other to find out how they can get vaccines even before turning 18. Remember when teens just scoured the internet for free porn?
Apparently there are laws in 15 states that vary greatly but have provisions for children as young as 12 to get medical treatment, including some vaccinations, without parental consent. These states include: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas. Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, and West Virginia.
Expectedly, parents are upset. Ethan’s mom was quoted as saying “It was like him spitting on me.” Every parent has certain ideals they hope to instill in their children either through direct teaching or by more stealthy means. As someone who is pro-vaccine I tried to imagine how these parents feel. For me it would be like if my children grew up to be conservative Republicans.
Apparently American teens are not the only ones getting vaccinated against their parent’s wishes. In Canada and the UK the trend is spreading as well.
The Big Picture
We can all read the thousands of articles on vaccine hesitancy/vaccine injury and thousands more on scientific evidence refuting the dangers of vaccines. There are hundreds of memes both humorous and offensive on the topic as well. Whether you are for or against vaccinations, I think it is important to note that so called Gen Z-ers (those born after the year 2000) are being called hyper-aware and more cynical as compared to Millennials who have been plagued with the labels “indulged” and “narcissistic.” Gen Z’s reliance on technology has them so connected to information they don’t take much at face value, they want to investigate for themselves. Though perhaps addicted to technology, I see these kids fighting for what they believe in and desire and not just sitting back to take what is handed to them. That is a trend we can all get behind.