It was high time Last Week Tonight With John Oliver took on anti-vaxxers, and Sunday, as Senate Republican leaders continue to try to rally support for their health care bill, was the big night.
“Despite their success, small groups are both skeptical and vocal about vaccines, which is nothing new,” Oliver said. “But these days their voice has been amplified by the human megaphone that is the President of the United States.”
He then showed a clip of Trump talking about vaccinating his children in a series of inoculations over time. “The problem is that it’s the middle ground between sense and nonsense,” Oliver said. “It’s like saying, ‘It would be crazy to eat that entire bar of soap, so I’ll just eat half of it.'”
Oliver went on to point out the rise in preventable diseases like measles, discuss some of the notable members of the anti-vaccination movement — including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Alex Jones, and actor Rob Schneider — and break down some of the arguments they make against vaccinations.
He concluded on an unusually personal note: “I’m someone who is scared of literally everything: the dark, the light, heights, depths, confined spaces, wide-open spaces, strangers, intimacy, spiders, and a sudden and mysterious lack of spiders. But, for what it’s worth, and if this helps at all, I have a son. He is 19 months old. He was born prematurely following a very difficult pregnancy, and I’ve worried about his health and I’m still worried 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 that everyone can.”
Last Week Tonight airs Sundays at 11 p.m. on HBO.