Maureen McCormick fires back at anti-vaccine crowd using ‘Brady Bunch’ measles clips to push views

(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia on the hit sitcom from yesteryear, “The Brady Bunch,” is not pleased that the show is being used by those who argue against childhood vaccines.

There was a 1969 episode where the whole family got the measles, which is being used by an anti-vaccination Facebook group to circulate memes of “Marcia” with the illness to support their stance, NPR reported.

“I was really concerned with that and wanted to get to the bottom of that, because I was never contacted,” McCormick said, after learning of the group’s antics.

“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,” she added.

This coming amid a rise in measles cases, according to the Center for Disease Control.

The greatest number of cases have been reported this year in the U.S. since measles was declared to have been eliminated in 2000.

There were 704 cases reported from January 1 to April 26, 2019, with cases confirmed in 22 states. The number represents an increase of 78 cases from the previous week.

In the episode, brother Peter, played by Christopher Knight, is the first to get sent home from school. Ever smiling mother  Carol Brady, played by Florence Henderson, describes his symptoms as “a slight temperature, a lot of dots and a great big smile.”

The smile being the result of getting to miss a few days of school.

Eventually, all six Brady children come down with measles, with Marcia saying, “If you have to get sick, sure can’t beat the measles.”

The siblings are sitting around playing Monopoly, thankful they don’t have to take any medicine or get shots.

 

The episode is cited by activists like Dr. Toni Bark, who testifies around the country against vaccines in courts and at public hearings, according to NPR.

“You stayed home like the Brady Bunch show. You stayed home. You didn’t go to the doctor,” she said. “We never said, ‘Oh my God, your kid could die. Oh my God, this is a deadly disease.’ It’s become that.”

Del Bigtree, who hosts a YouTube show critical of vaccines, also uses the episode as a means to downplay concerns about measles.

“We were all giggling and laughing because the whole family in the Brady Bunch got the measles,” he said. “Where is the sitcom that joked about dying from AIDS or joked about dying from cancer?”

In real life, McCormick told NPR that she got measles as a child and, unlike the show, she actually got sick.

“Having the measles was not a fun thing,” she said. “I remember it spread through my family.”

And talk about putting a stick in the anti-vaccination group’s spokes, McCormick said, “As a mother, my daughter was vaccinated.”

Most who get the virus are okay in a matter of days, but it can result in pneumonia and, in severe cases, brain swelling and deafness, NPR reported.

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Tom Tillison

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