Ethan Lindenberger is an 18-year-old from Ohio. He’s all up to date on his vaccinations, but that’s a relatively recent development. Lindenberger was raised by anti-vaxxers, and it wasn’t until he reached legal age and took matters into his own hands that he finally got his shots. “My mom didn’t believe that vaccines were beneficial to the health and safety of society,” Lindenberger explains in a video on his YouTube channel. “She believes they cause autism, brain damage, and other complications.”
He credits Reddit with helping him figure out how to navigate getting his vaccines after turning 18. “The only two shots I ever received were for tetanus and hepatitis B, when I was 2 months old,” he wrote in an op-ed for USA Today, after his story went viral via Reddit. “Last November, I asked Reddit users for advice about what immunizations to ask for and how to go about getting them from a doctor. After my post received more than 1,000 comments, I made an appointment with my family physician … In December, I received shots for hepatitis B, hepatitis A, tetanus, influenza, and HPV 1.” His mother called his decision to get vaccinated a “slap in the face” and compared it to “him spitting on me.” (Lindenberger has several other siblings, including a 16-year-old brother who plans to follow in his older brother’s footsteps and a 14-year-old sister who believes her mother is right.)
This week, Lindenberger will be speaking to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in a hearing on deaths from preventable diseases, the Washington Post reports. At Reddit HQ they are probably planning him a party for all the good publicity.