"If you have to get sick, sure can't beat the measles," Maureen McCormick's character Marcia Brady had said on The Brady Bunch
There is no scientific link between vaccines and autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Images from a 1969 episode of The Brady Bunch are being used by anti-vaxxers to downplay the seriousness of the current measles outbreak, and one of the show’s stars is not happy about it.
Maureen McCormick, now 62, who became known for her role as eldest daughter Marcia Brady, spoke out to NPR about the issue. She said that she was furious when she saw a meme of herself being used in anti-vaccination posts on Facebook.
“I was really concerned with that and wanted to get to the bottom of that, because I was never contacted,” she told the radio station. “I think it’s really wrong when people use people’s images today to promote whatever they want.”
McCormick’s was especially frustrated since she believes vaccinations are essential.
“As a mother, my daughter was vaccinated,” she said, adding that she got the measles herself as a child and got really sick. “Having the measles was not a fun thing. I remember it spread through my family.” Measles is highly contagious and in rare cases, it can be fatal.
That’s certainly not how The Brady Bunch portrayed the measles outbreak in its 1969 episode, “Is There a Doctor in the House?“
The show finds all six of the Brady kids catching the disease, and rejoicing over the fact that they get to stay home from school.
“If you have to get sick, sure can’t beat the measles,” Marcia says in an image from the episode that’s used in the meme.
According to NPR, anti-vaxxers like Dr. Toni Bark often bring up the episode to assert that the measles is not serious. “You stayed home like the Brady Bunch show. You stayed home. You didn’t go to the doctor,” Bark has said, according to NPR. “We never said, ‘Oh my God, your kid could die. Oh my God, this is a deadly disease.’ It’s become that.”
But that’s not how Brady Bunch creator Sherwood Schwartz would have wanted it. Schwartz’s son, Lloyd J. Schwartz, told NPR his father would be unhappy to see the beloved sitcom was spreading a message of anti-vaccination.
“Dad would be sorry, because he believed in vaccination,” Lloyd said. ” [He] had all of his kids vaccinated.”
The World Health Organization notes that cases of the measles are up by 300 percent worldwide in the first three months of 2019, compared to the same time period last year.
This new data “indicates a clear trend” of rising rates of infection, the organization said in a report released April 15, which comes as several countries are experiencing outbreaks, including the U.S.
According to the CDC, cases are spreading in the Pacific Northwest, Michigan and New York City. Despite extensive research proving the safety of the vaccine, people are choosing not to get vaccinated. This is partially due to the spread of misinformation about the vaccine, which has led parents to opt out of vaccinations for their children.
Several local U.S. politicians are taking steps to slow down the spread of measles. On Friday morning, President Trump urged Americans to get the measles vaccine.
“They have to get the shot. The vaccinations are so important,” he told reporters outside the White House. “This is really going around now, they have to get their shot.”