New “Jeopardy!” host Mayim Bialik is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 despite social media chatter labeling her an anti-vaxxer.
“She has been fully vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus and is not at all an anti-vaxxer,” a spokesperson for Bialik told TheWrap on Aug. 11, the same day she and Mike Richards were announced as hosts for the popular game show. (Richards stepped down a week later after backlash over his past disparaging comments in a podcast and involvement in sexual harassment lawsuits.)
After news broke that Bialik had the gig, her past comments about vaccinations resurfaced.
In a parenting book Bialik wrote in 2012 titled “Beyond the Sling,” she admitted she hadn’t gotten a vaccine in 30 years. This led people to question whether the “Big Bang Theory” star had also decided not to vaccinate her children; Bialik later clarified in an October 2020 YouTube video titled “Anti-Vaxxers and Covid” that yes, she and her children have the proper shots.
Bialik, who has a doctorate in neurobiology in addition to her tenure as a television star, said she does still have some questions about the efficacy of vaccines and noted in the 2020 video they’re “never 100% effective. Still, she said in the 2020 video that she thinks its “very disturbing” people are deciding not to get COVID shots.
“This year I’m going to do something I literally haven’t done in 30 years. I’m going to get a vaccine. And guess what? I’m actually going to get two,” Bialik began, clarifying she would get the coronavirus vaccine and a flu shot. She also said that her children (aged 12 and 15 at the time of the video) had never gotten a flu shot.
“You might be saying, ‘Hey, wait a second, you don’t believe in vaccines! You’re one of those anti-vaxxers,” Bialik said in the video. “Let’s finally talk about it. I wrote a book about 10 years ago about my experience parenting and at the time my children had not received the typical schedule of vaccines. But I have never, not once, said that vaccines are not valuable, not useful, or not necessary because they are.”
Bialik went on to say in the video that she felt the media’s coverage of her comments was “inaccurate.”
“The truth is, I delayed vaccinations for reasons that you don’t necessarily get to know about simply because you follow me on social media,” Bialik said. “As of today, my children may not have had every one of the vaccinations that your children have but my children are vaccinated. I repeat, my children are vaccinated.”
Bialik was signed on to host “Jeopardy’s” primetime and spin-off specials but will handle at least three weeks of the regular show since Richards stepped down after completing work on the first week of the new season.
The show had been without a permanent host since its legendary emcee Alex Trebek died of Stage IV pancreatic cancer in November 2020. After several months of rotating through guest hosts, including fan favorite LeVar Burton, Bialik and Richards will share the coveted role.