Fox News host Sean Hannity took some time out of his broadcast Monday night to deliver a direct message to Fox News viewers, telling them to take the coronavirus pandemic “seriously” and declaring that he believes in the “science of vaccination.”
Amid a frightening surge of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant and stagnating vaccination rates, Fox News has come under intense fire in recent days over its hosts and pundits relentlessly peddling vaccine hesitancy and skepticism. With the unvaccinated making up over 99 percent of recent COVID deaths, critics have wondered aloud whether Fox’s anti-vaccine rhetoric is “killing people.”
While many Fox News anchors and hosts seemed to make a concerted effort on Monday to push viewers to get vaccinated, others like Brian Kilmeade and Tucker Carlson continued to defend vaccine-resistant Americans and fearmonger over the safety and efficacy of the shots.
Hannity, who hasn’t been nearly as hostile to vaccination efforts as his primetime Fox colleagues, seemed to want it both ways on Monday night. While he delivered an instantly viral soundbite in which he appeared to praise the vaccines, he bookended his remarks by blasting universities for mandating vaccinations and interviewing a college student who refuses to get the shot because she was injured by a different vaccine years ago.
“Across the country, with the approval of Joe Biden, some colleges and universities are mandating that students take the vaccine, regardless of whether they had natural immunity,” the pro-Trump Fox star huffed.
“The courts, so far, seem to be on the side of mandates,” he continued. “For example, a federal judge on Monday upheld Indiana University’s vaccination requirement for students despite arguments from plaintiffs that such rules violate their right to body integrity and medical privacy.”
From there, Hannity suddenly shifted gears.
“Just like we’ve been saying, please take COVID seriously,” he exclaimed. “I can’t say it enough. Enough people have died. We don’t need any more death.”
After telling viewers to “research like crazy” and talk to their doctors in order to “make a very important decision” based on safety and medical history, Hannity then seemed to endorse the coronavirus vaccines.
“Take it seriously. You also have a right to medical privacy, and doctor-patient confidentiality is also important,” he stated. “And it absolutely makes sense for many Americans to get vaccinated. I believe in science, I believe in the science of vaccination.”
Then, Hannity immediately pivoted to a story about a young woman who was temporarily paralyzed in 2019 after she took a different vaccine. Noting that she has since declined to get a COVID-19 shot due to her past experience with vaccines, Hannity pointed out that BYU Hawaii—which by state law is requiring students to be vaccinated—has refused to give her a medical exemption.
“Unfairness,” Hannity grumbled as he read a statement from the school that said she could attend another BYU campus in a different state.