The infrastructure of social media can spread a lot of bad medical and scientific information but there are times when it can help cut through the quackery.
As a kid, Ethan wasn’t allowed to be vaccinated. Ethan’s parents are one of the up to 10 percent of Americans who are against some form of vaccination, often believing that preventing disease in children is a government conspiracy.
But Ethan is not his parents. When he turned 18, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He wasn’t sure where else to begin, so he turned to Reddit.
“Where do I go to get vaccinated? Can I get vaccinated at my age?” Ethan asked his fellow redditors in December.
Ethan’s post flooded with over 1,000 comments from users offering their encouragement and support, along with practical advice.
“Good on you for getting your vaccinations,” one user responded. “It’s never too late and you’re not only protecting yourself but those around you who truly can’t get vaccinated.”
Ethan told the Daily Dot that some redditors even offered to give him money via GoFundMe or PayPal if insurance didn’t cover the shots. “People were really supportive, and that was really cool,” he said. “I had the blessing of Reddit. They were supporting me on a decision my mom freaked out about.”