Mayim Bialik wants you to know that she’s fully vaccinated despite what she may have written about vaccine skepticism in the past. The Jeopardy! guest host finished her first impromptu week on the job Friday following the Mike Richards flameout, and in a new interview she once again clarified that she’s vaccinated, including against the novel coronavirus.
Bialik had previously set the record straight about her (and her children’s) vaccine status several times in the past, including in a video she put on YouTube late last year. The long and short of it: Bialik and her family are now fully vaccinated and she supports vaccinating against coronavirus in particular.
But it’s notable because any name attached to the full-time Jeopardy! hosting job has seen at least one news cycle where past controversial comments were resurfaced. In Bialik’s case a book she wrote in 2012, Beyond The Sling, where she explained that her children were not fully vaccinated has become a lightning rod of sorts, especially in the coronavirus pandemic where vaccine skepticism is now a full-blown public health crisis.
“We made an informed decision not to vaccinate our children, but this is a very personal decision that should be made only after sufficient research, which today is within reach of every parent who seeks to learn about their child’s health regardless of their medical knowledge or educational status,” Bialik wrote at the time.
She’s obviously changed that stance in the years since, and it continues to come up as her role at Jeopardy! expands. Asked about her controversy in an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday, Bialik said she didn’t “regret” what she wrote but clarified that her entire family is vaccinated now.
“I don’t regret that at the time I wrote a book about parenting, my kids were young, they hadn’t received all their vaccines,” she said. “Now I’ve been very public and declared that I am a vaccinated person, we’re a vaccinated family, we’re all vaccinated for COVID.”
Bialik admitted that her public perception as an anti-vaxxer has been difficult, as many anti-vaxx sentiments from nearly a decade ago have been shared on platforms like Facebook in recent months despite her evolving viewpoints. And she also thanked those working at Jeopardy! for sticking with her despite her past comments.
“That’s part of the challenge of being a public person, and the court of public opinion is extremely significant,” she said. “I’m grateful to Sony and to ‘Jeopardy!’ for believing in me as a host right now, with the ability to do my job with all the other things aside.”
Considering just how difficult it is to combat the spread of misinformation online, especially on social media, Bialik’s stance on vaccines will continue to come up. But while Richards’ controversies were simply too many to keep him involved with the show, it’s clear that Bialik’s words haven’t impacted her chances of being selected as the show’s full-time host. Time will tell if the same can be said for fellow guest host Ken Jennings, who has his own past comments online continue to haunt him.
[via Associated Press]