John Oliver Tries Desperately to Talk Some Sense into Anti-Vaxxers Before It's Too Late

John Oliver admits he's scared of "literally everything," but perhaps nothing more than parents-turned-activists seemingly hellbent on unleasing a new plague.


"Vaccines are one of humanity's most incredible accomplishments," the "Last Week Tonight" host opened Sunday. "They've saved millions of lives, and there was a time when a new one was a cause for huge celebration." 

Despite saving millions upon millions of lives, vaccines have been meet with skepticism by a small but growing faction of conspiracy theorists. And Donald Trump, "human megaphone that is the president of the United States," has only made matters worse by supporting an "alternative vaccine schedule."

“That sounds like a decent compromise because it’s the middle-ground position, right?” Oliver asked. “The problem is, it’s the middle ground between sense and nonsense. It’s like saying, ’It would be crazy to eat that entire bar of soap, so I’ll just eat half of it.’”

Robert Sears, a pediatrician and author from Capistrano Beach, California, is one such anti-vaxx "truther."

"Vaccines don't cause autism, except when they do," Sears told MSNBC's Chris Hayes in a 2015 interview, to which Oliver retorted: 

"Opportunistic quacks writing books that fan the flames of people's unfounded fears don't cause a legitimate public health hazard except when they do."

The measles vaccination, for example, is one of the best investments in public heath, having prevented over 20 million deaths in the past 15 years. 

"One way we can keep measles at bay is through something called herd immunity," noted Oliver. "That is the concept whereby the more people who are vaccinated, the harder it is for a disease to spread."

But as Oliver is careful to note, "the margin for safety there is a lot smaller than you may think."

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