McCormick (who played oldest sister Marcia Brady) recently spoke out against a popular meme based on a controversial 1969 episode called “Is There a Doctor in the House?” in which half the Brady family catch measles. Regrettably, the misleading episode treats measles as a punchline.
At one point, Marcia even cracks a joke about enjoying the illness because it keeps her home from school.
Sounds like a corny sitcom zinger, right?
But some anti-vaxxers interpret the episode as “proving” measles is a non-threatening disease.
McCormick has since distanced herself from the Brady Bunch episode, disagreeing with its lighthearted and humorous portrayal of a measles outbreak within the family.
She told NPR about her concerns with anti-vaccination rhetoric.
“I think it’s really wrong when people use people’s images today to promote whatever they want to promote, and the person’s image they’re using they haven’t asked or they have no idea where they stand on the issue…as a mother, my daughter was vaccinated.”
Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia, said she got the measles as a child, and it was nothing like 'The Brady Bunch' episode; she got really sick.
"Having the measles was not a fun thing," she said. "I remember it spread through my family." https://t.co/LXc8q992io
— NPR (@NPR) April 29, 2019
People on social media joked about the absurd anti-vaxxer theory.
Then we shall impose other Brady bunch rules upon them. Such as….Astro Turf backyard
— Poor Richard's Kite (@LBraun1912) April 29, 2019
Well these days it is…
— juliom151 (@juliom151) April 29, 2019
But some anti-vaxxers fought back in the replies. 🤦
Yeah and in the “good old days” we died of easily cured infections but now we have antibiotics so that doesn’t have to happen anymore. We used to beat our clothes on rocks too – now we have washing machines! Welcome to “progress.”
— Kristen S. (@KristenInVA) April 29, 2019
Gosh it’s almost like vaccines worked.
— Kristen S. (@KristenInVA) April 29, 2019
Funny.I had measles in 1969,at age 4,and I haven't heard a thing in my right ear ever since.Before the vaccines, measles,chicken pox,rubella and mumps left many of us w/ full or partial deafness or blindness,cognitive impairment or even dead.
Guess you weren't paying attention.
— David Ashlin (@SciCommic) April 29, 2019
canceling a holiday because bobby had a sniffle? I remember the 70's parenting being more free range.
— Charlie Hustle 🇨🇦 (@notabot87654321) April 29, 2019
Others backed up their arguments with FACTS.
Oh, how much fun! And some small number of kids who had measles will develop Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSEP) 6-10 years later and die. Average rate 1:10,000, but perhaps 1:609 in babies. Bonus: measles may wipe out all your immunological memory to date.
— Jeanne Dolan (@jeanne_dolan) April 29, 2019
drug companies could save those lives by providing free vaccines to the developing world. yes #VaccinesWork and they work miracles for the malniurished children most likely to die from these diseases. #moneythough
— pues, vos sabés (@radgedyann) April 28, 2019
Anti-vaxxers ended up totally clowned on.
Think of all the medicinal uses of coconuts and bamboo.
— Annie Gray (@snooze_cat) April 30, 2019
I think I will rely on Hogan’s Heroes to show that wars really aren’t that bad.
— Rick (@cougdaddy) April 29, 2019
The Brady Bunch kids got measles in one episode and were happy to stay home from school. Anti-vaxxers are citing episode as evidence you can get measles and everything is going to be fine. Context: That show aired 50 years ago and all conflicts were resolved within 30 minutes. https://t.co/DKlXkbYnRO
— Tessie Sanci (@tessiesanci) April 29, 2019
Many on social media shared their experience with measles.
I’m one of 7 kids. We all got measles at the same time then 6 weeks later we got the chicken pox. If there had been a vaccine I’m pretty sure my mom would have made us be first in line!
— Pam Warner (@pswarner45) April 29, 2019
If there’s at least one person who putting their child’s health and possible life in the hands of a 50 year old fictional TV show, then it only confirms why the US tanks so damn low globally in literacy. We as a nation is allowing stupidity to create a health crisis.
— Ed Hudley (@EdHudley) April 30, 2019
But some debated the root causes of the disturbing anti-vaccination rhetoric.
They elect a reality show performer as president and use a TV show as justification for disregarding science. The ignoramuses and the looneys are hurting our country.
— Libertas (@saneandreal) April 29, 2019
While it’s tempting to mock the fools who spread anti-vaccination rhetoric online, the growing trend of parents refusing to vaccinate their children remains no laughing matter.
Trust scientists, not sitcoms.