SALT LAKE CITY — "Brady Bunch" star Maureen McCormick is speaking up now that an old episode of the famous '70s show is being used by anti-vaccination groups to validate vaccination claims.
There’s an old “The Brady Bunch” episode called “Is There a Doctor in the House?” that features all six of the Brady children getting sick with the measles.
Peter (Christopher Knight) gets sick first. After he’s sent home from school for several days, his mother Carol Brady (Florence Henderson) describes his symptoms as "a slight temperature, a lot of dots and a great big smile.”
At a later point in the episode, after the other five Brady children have come down with the measles, the older kids gather around a Monopoly board and sister Marcia Brady says, “If you have to get sick, you sure can't beat the measles.”
The other Brady children reaffirm Marcia’s comment, mentioning how none of them needed medicine or shots.
Now McCormick, who plays Marcia, is speaking up after her comments from the measles episode have been recirculated by anti-vaccination groups using them to validate vaccination claims.
According to NPR, McCormick learned several months ago that her scene in the measles “Brady Bunch” episode was being shared in anti-vaccination Facebook groups by individuals attempting to discredit the seriousness of the illness.
"I was really concerned with that and wanted to get to the bottom of that, because I was never contacted," McCormick said, according to NPR.
McCormick talked about how she got measles as a child and that it was nothing like the “Brady Bunch” episode. She got really sick.
"Having the measles was not a fun thing," McCormick said. "I remember it spread through my family."
One Twitter user shared the "Brady Bunch" clip from the measles episode earlier this month, captioning it with “How we dealt with the measles before the media started equating it to Ebola.”
How we dealt with the measles before the media started equating it to ebola. https://t.co/7ySVh9rJBl— Cory langel (@CoryLangel) April 20, 2019
Another Twitter user named Kelly Brinn tweeted last week, “The irony is that it's likely the vaccinated spreading the disease through shedding, and getting the disease naturally increases immunity. Look up Brady Bunch episode 13, getting the measles used to be no big deal.”
The irony is that it's likely the vaccinated spreading the disease through shedding, and getting the disease naturally increases immunity. Look up Brady Bunch episode 13, getting the measles used to be no big deal.— Kelly Brinn (@KellyBrinn413) April 26, 2019
McCormick had strong words to say about individuals using the episode to minimize the disease.
"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 said, adding, "As a mother, my daughter was vaccinated."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, measles symptoms include rashes, high fever, coughs and conjunctivitis. Measles complications lead to diarrhea, ear infections, infected lungs and brain swelling and can lead to hospitalization or even death.
This year, measles cases nationwide have risen to the highest number they’ve been since before measles was declared eliminated in 2000.
According to the CDC, a total of 695 cases had been reported from 22 states as of April 24. That number continues to grow.
When the measles episode of “The Brady Bunch” was first released in 1969, the disease was thought to be fairly harmless, according to NPR.
The public conversation surrounding measles changed once a vaccine was created and doctors learned more about the effects of the disease, NPR reported.
Before 1963, about 500 deaths related to measles were reported annually, according to the CDC. After the licensure of the vaccine that same year, that number of cases decreased by more than 95%.
According to NPR, there was only one reported measles death between the years 1963 and 1984.
As measles cases rise in number, officials across the nation are taking drastic steps to curb the disease, such as attempting to push mandatory vaccination laws through legislation.
Lloyd J. Schwartz, son of “Brady Bunch” creator Sherwood Schwartz, has also spoken up with McCormick about the use of the measles episode to validate anti-vaccination claims.
"Dad would be sorry,” Schwartz said, “because he believed in vaccination, had all of his kids vaccinated.”