Cast members of the popular television show The Brady Bunch are upset that anti-vaccine groups are using the episode Is There A Doctor In The House? to make the case that contracting measles is no big deal.
The chapter’s plot is when the entire Brady family gets sick with measles in which the mother, Carol Brady (played by actress Florence Henderson), describes the symptoms as a slight temperature, a lot of dots and a great big smile. The entire affair is played as though it is a light-hearted and, at times, humorous affair. According to NPR, in addition to using the episode itself, anti-vaccine groups and activists also use frames from it to create memes to make their case and the Brady kids are even grateful they don’t have to take medication or even get shots too.
However, The Brady Bunch is a fictional program and, like any other television show, is not necessarily geared to present reality unless otherwise specified. It is concerning that contracting measles in the show is passed off as something not to be taken seriously, but parents have always taught their children don’t always believe everything you see on television or, in this case, the internet.
NPR points out that UC Berkeley History Professor Elena Conis states that the circumstances during 1969 when the Brady Bunch chapter was filmed are much different than today. Also, Maureen McCormick, who plays Marcia in The Brady Bunch, is reportedly furious that Is There A Doctor In The House? is being used to support skepticism or opposition to vaccines. As it turns out, McCormick is a mother and both of her daughters are immunized.
Like NPR states, everyone who was infected with measles ended up cured with no after effects and that usually is the case with most people who contract it. However, there are instances where measles can cause pneumonia and, in extreme cases, brain swelling and even deafness. That is what the measles vaccine is designed to prevent and, if enough people immunize themselves, it reduces the risk of infection and anyone being at risk.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Content Providers(s): CDC/Dr. Heinz F. Eichenwald [Public domain]