Health

Teenagers Use the Internet to Challenge Anti-Vaxx Parents

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  • A recent survey found that a quarter of American parents say they will not vaccinate their children.
  • To fight against anti-vax parents, teenagers share vaccination resources on the internet.
  • Teenagers post memes on TikTok and write discussions on Reddit.
  • Visit the Insider homepage for more stories.

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the COVID-19 vaccine for anyone over the age of 12 years, but there are rules in place that make it difficult for children to be vaccinated.

45 states currently require that children ages 12 to 15 be allowed by a guardian to get the vaccine, according to CNN. For young people aged 16 to 18, it varies by state.

With these rules, there are many parents across the country who do not let their children take the plunge. In June, the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit organization for public health, found through the vote that a quarter of American parents said they would “definitely not” vaccinate their children.

A 15-year-old girl named Marina said her mother would not let her take the vaccine In the New York Times in a recent article, “It’s a dick I can’t get the shot of.”

But some children rebel. There has been an influx of teenagers using the internet to challenge their guardians and protect themselves against the virus.

When a fan commented on a video it was deleted using TikTok @sofia_viscardi wondering if they were “the only ones with anti-vax relatives who wouldn’t leave [them get the vaccine], ”the creator replied with a full video.

“No, you’re not … a lot of people have said that [that] in the comment sections, ”he said, going on to correct vaccine misinformation and encourage viewers to share the information with their parents.

Another user, @sourandnasty, he said in a popular TikTok that his parents thought the vaccine was “fake,” but that they decided to receive the shot anyway.

“Make sense!” one spectator commented.

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Meanwhile, some TikTokers craft memes about what it is like to live with anti-vaccine parents, and how their parents reprimanded them for getting the vaccine.

Redditors are giving advice

Others use Reddit to seek advice on how to get the COVID-19 vaccine without parental permission.

A user who said he has anti-vaxx parents and uses the handle “camel_in_a_can” posted a question thread on the subreddit for teens and received a couple of responses.

Reddit also helped 20-year-old Ethan Lindenberger, who in 2019 went viral seeking support because he said his parents believed the vaccines were an infamous government scheme. Commentators encouraged him to get vaccinated and advised him how to schedule doctor appointments without parental permission.

May, NBC News interviewed Lindenberger, who encouraged young people to “get yours [COVID-19] hits as soon as possible ”and said many teens with anti-vax parents face the difficult task of having to choose between getting a potentially“ life-saving ”vaccine and risking homelessness.

VaxTeen.org is a hotspot for teen vax info

In addition to TikTok and Reddit, the VaxTeen.org website has become a central resource for teens looking to gather reliable information about the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to In the New York Times, an 18-year-old girl named Kelly Danielpour launched the website two years before the pandemic. He created the site to help educate other teens and children about the laws regarding vaccination and consent.

“We’re automatically talking about parents, but not teenagers who have opinions on this issue,” he told the Times. “I decided I needed help … I want teenagers to be able to say to pediatricians, ‘Hey, I have this right.’


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