Fox News host Sean Hannity told his millions of viewers on Thursday evening that nobody should feel shamed or pressured into getting a coronavirus vaccine, insisting that it’s a “personal decision” and revealing that half of his friends aren’t getting a jab.
In recent weeks, and as federally approved vaccines have been administered at an increasing rate, concern has continued to grow over the large number of Republicans and conservatives who have expressed hesitancy in getting immunized. An NPR/Marist poll, for instance, found that nearly half of Trump supporters would not get a shot when they’re eligible.
Much of the blame has been pointed at Fox News, whose primetime stars have increasingly cast doubt on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine. Even as former President Donald Trump took to Fox airwaves this week to urge his followers to get vaccinated, the network itself spent virtually no time covering his vaccine endorsement in the following days.
During his Thursday primetime broadcast, Hannity—who served as an informal adviser to the ex-president—attempted to find a middle ground. While he said he personally plans to get the shot, he also made the case for vaccine denialism, claiming it’s no one’s business who else gets vaccinated and that it all comes down to personal choice.
“Half my friends in life, people I love and respect agree with me. They’re going to get the vaccine,” the Fox star declared. “Another group of friends, guess what. They choose consultation with their doctors, they don’t want to get it. That’s none of my business.”
Saying that “we should remember we believe in freedom of choice,” the conservative TV host then wondered if Democrats are “really pro-choice and will they respect people’s decision if they choose not to get vaccinated?”
From there, Hannity went on to say “nobody should be pressured” to get a medical treatment like a vaccine, and that “it is a personal decision” and protected by medical privacy laws. He also took issue with the criticism some GOP lawmakers have received for publicly refusing to get a jab. (A recent report finds 25 percent of Republicans in Congress won’t get vaccinated.)
“We shouldn’t be shaming people—politicians—asking, ‘Where is your vaccination papers?’ Really?!” Hannity groused. “Because we have seen the devastating consequences when elected officials put politics first or should anybody get pressured into a vaccine.”