MONDAY, April 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) –Some former Brady Bunch cast members are unhappy that an episode of the 60s-70s TV show is being used by anti-vaxxers as evidence that concern about the dangers of measles is overblown.
In the 1969 episode, all six Brady children come down with the measles. They play games and fool around, and are thankful they don’t have to take any medicine or get shots, NPR reported.
“If you have to get sick, sure can’t beat the measles,” character Marcia Brady says.
The episode is now being widely used by people who oppose vaccines, including Dr. Toni Bark, who testifies against vaccines in courts and at public hearings across the United States, NPR reported.
“You stayed home like the Brady Bunch show. You stayed home. You didn’t go to the doctor,” Bark says. “We never said, ‘Oh my God, your kid could die. Oh my God, this is a deadly disease.’ It’s become that.”
But measles — and the use of the episode — is no laughing matter for Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia on the Brady Bunch. She says she was furious when she found out a few months ago that an anti-vaccination Facebook group was circulating memes of her with measles from that episode, NPR reported.
“I was really concerned with that and wanted to get to the bottom of that, because I was never contacted,” she says.
“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 says.
“As a mother, my daughter was vaccinated,” she adds.
The year that episode first aired, the U.S. had more than 25,000 measles cases and 41 deaths, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. The number of measles cases in the U.S. so far this year are at levels not seen since before the virus was declared eliminated in 2000, NPR reported.