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Health

John Oliver Takes on 'Anti-Vaxxers' Over Vaccine Myths

There was a point in world history when news of a vaccine against a deadly disease was celebrated with as much anticipation as the announcement of a new iPhone is today, John Oliver said on Sunday's episode of "Last Week Tonight." 

But that time is long gone, he said. 

This week's episode of the comedian's socially-conscious, news-driven HBO show took on the so-called "anti-vaxxer movement" and the current wave of fears and myths around vaccines. 

Read More: Everything You Need to Know About the Anti-Vaxxer Movement

Oliver noted in his piece that fearful parents today who are wondering whether to get their children vaccinated need to look at the science behind vaccinations and their success in decreasing childhood diseases like measles, smallpox, and polio. 

Otherwise, their decisions could be guided by myths and fears, such as those that lead parents to put off vaccinating their kids, or come up with an "alternative schedule" for vaccines. These patterns are often exacerbated by public figures like President Donald Trump, who has expressed some doubt about vaccine safety

 “Very few people will say they are completely anti-vaccine,” he said. “Instead — like the president — they’ll say ‘I’m not anti-vaccine, but.'” 

And that "but" can be very dangerous, he said.

Global Citizen also supports vaccines, and campaigns on eradicating diseases like polio with vaccines to save millions of children from preventable deaths every year. 

Read More: 5 Vaccine Myths That Are Completely Not True

Oliver wasn't speaking just as a TV host or science-enthusiast in his segment, but also as a father of a son born prematurely, a son whom he is still vaccinating on schedule according to doctor's recommendations, rather than on an "alternative vaccine schedule" proposed by anti-vaxxers. 

“That sounds like a decent compromise because it’s the middle-ground position, right?” Oliver said. “The problem is, it's the middle ground between science 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.’”