John Oliver dedicated Sunday’s main story on Last Week Tonight to breaking down the inexplicable public skepticism about vaccines. Oliver ridiculed parents who fear “needles full of science juice” and take different approaches to disease prevention, like giving their children “used lollipops and pus-soaked clothing from complete strangers.” (Yes, that’s real.)
Oliver bemoaned the baseless fears that seem to crop up around vaccines: skepticism of scientific language and outright disbelief of science in general. Oliver claimed anti-vaccine theories crop up like “whack-a-moles,” but his main beef was directed at public figures who proliferate a fear of vaccines for their own gain (book deals and television appearances) and link preventative medicine with autism, despite no scientific evidence.
The exhausting list of insufferable white men who seem to relish speaking out against vaccines include Doctor Bob Sears who, despite admitting no scientific backing for his proposed delayed, selective vaccine schedule, still pushes weird, self-penned maxims like, “Vaccines don’t cause autism … except when they do.” There’s also Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has long led a campaign against mercury-based additives in vaccines that were never linked to harmful effects and have already been removed from all vaccines except for the flu. And don’t forget celebrities like Rob Schneider, who, in preparing for his next role in The Annoying Guy Who Is Wrong, claims government-mandated vaccines are “against the Nuremberg laws.” And the worst of all: President Trump, who amplified vaccine fears on the campaign trail and tweets comments like, “No more massive injections, tiny children are not horses— one vaccine at a time, over a time.”
A protective parent of his own prematurely born son, Oliver acknowledged the fears parents have over their children’s health. Yet, he trusts doctors and doesn’t get his medical information from memes and politicians. After citing recent measles outbreaks in France and Minnesota due to a drop in herd immunity caused by more parents not vaccinating their children, Oliver showed that parents are also hurting other children when they do not vaccinate their own, such as adorable eight-year-old Rhett Krawitt, whose immune system is still rebuilding after fighting leukemia for 4.5 years and cannot yet be vaccinated.
In short, listen to doctors and vaccinate your damn kids. Watch Oliver’s story above.