John Oliver and his HBO talk show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” are the subject of a lawsuit regarding the episode he ran last week on the coal industry and supremely litigious Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray. He briefly addressed the suit at the beginning of his June 25 episode, but he wasn’t able to discuss much with litigation underway, so he turned his attention to another threat to the health of Americans: skepticism about vaccines. Watch his take on the dangerous anti-vaxxer movement above.
“Vaccines are one of humanity’s most incredible accomplishments. They’ve saved millions of lives. And there was a time when a new one was a cause for huge celebration,” Oliver began. “People lined up for the polio shot like it was an iPhone.” But now a wave of skepticism about vaccines, as well as unsubstantiated fears that they cause autism, has put people at risk of preventable diseases. And it’s especially worrisome with our science-denier-in-chief Donald Trump also raising alarms about the safety of vaccinations. And that leads to crises like a Somali community in Minnesota where there has been a recent outbreak. Oliver explains, “In that community, the number of measles so far this year has already outpaced the total number in all the US last year.”
Oliver examines the hysteria about vaccines over the course of his in-depth segment, but in the end he makes it personal: “I am someone who is scared of literally everything,” he says. “But for what it’s worth I have a son. He’s 19-months-old. He was born prematurely following a very difficult pregnancy. I’ve worried about his health, and I’m still worrying about his health a lot, but we are vaccinating him fully on-schedule, and if I can overcome the temptation to listen to the irrational shouting of my terrified lizard brain, then I believe everyone can.”
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