Why ‘The Brady Bunch’ Measles Episode Is Getting Grief

Archives  ABC via Getty Images

Archives ABC via Getty Images

"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", McCormick said, NPR reported. And McCormick is upset that her character is being used to further the misconception.

"Having the measles was not a fun thing", she said, per NPR.

The year that episode first aired, the USA had more than 25,000 measles cases and 41 deaths, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

In one scene, eldest sister Marcia, played by McCormick, cheerfully declares, "If you have to get sick, you sure can't beat the measles", CNN reported. McCormick also said that she actually did contract the measles as a child and that it was much worse than what was depicted in the TV show.

But the highly contagious illness is now back, with outbreaks popping up around the country. "And I encourage all Americans to adhere to CDC vaccine guidelines in order to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from measles and other vaccine preventable diseases". The "Brady Bunch" episode appears to reflect this approach, but 50 years later it can be easily interpreted in a different way. Anti-vaxxers have been using the episode as proof to declare that measles is no big deal. "You stayed home", says Bark of her belief that fears of a measles epidemic are overblown.

Anti-vaxer activist Dr. Toni Bark called upon "The Brady Bunch" to make her point about measles, saying that if one contracted the virus, "you stayed home like the Brady Bunch show".

She continues, "We never said, 'Oh my God, your kid could die. Oh my God, this is a deadly disease!' It's become that".

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"Dad would be sorry, because he believed in vaccination", Lloyd said". "[He] had all of his kids vaccinated".

McCormick's concern over anti-vaxers using her image to support their agenda comes as measles cases in the United States have surpassed the highest number on record since the disease was declared eliminated nationwide in 2000.

Since measles is still common in many countries, unvaccinated travelers bring measles to the USA and it can spread.

According to the CDC, cases are spreading in the Pacific Northwest, Michigan and New York City. 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 USA politicians are taking steps to slow down the spread of measles.

Anti-vaxxers tend to believe that the MMR vaccine, which protects people from measles, mumps, and rubella, is risky or not worth giving their children. "This is really going around now, they have to get their shot".

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