Fox News Sean Hannity on Thursday insisted that he never encouraged his viewers to get a vaccine after drawing praise from the White House for comments promoting vaccination.
Fox News and the Republican Party have recently had a remarkable turnaround on their vaccine rhetoric, urging people to get vaccinated as the rise of the Delta variant threatens new mask mandates and restrictions. Hannity was among the Fox hosts that spoke in favor of the vaccines this week.
"Please take Covid seriously. I can’t say it enough. Enough people have died. We don’t need any more death," he said. "Research like crazy. Talk to your doctor, your doctors, medical professionals you trust based on your unique medical history, your current medical condition, and you and your doctor make a very important decision for your own safety."
After noting the importance of "medical privacy" and "doctor-patient confidentiality," he added: "And it absolutely makes sense for many Americans to get vaccinated. I believe in science, I believe in the science of vaccination."
President Joe Biden appeared to praise Hannity’s turnaround during a CNN town hall on Wednesday where he suggested that Fox News hosts had a “come to Jesus” moment.
"One of those other networks - they're not a big fan of mine, one you talk about a lot - but if you notice, as they say in the southern part of my state, they've had an altar call, some of those guys,” Biden said.
Hannity walks it back:
Hannity stressed on his show on Thursday that he "never told anyone to get a vaccine."
"I've been very clear," he said. "I am simply not qualified. I am not a medical doctor. I know nothing about your medical history or your current medical condition."
Hannity railed against the "media mob" for giving him credit for promoting vaccines.
“These reports are all false for multiple reasons," he said.
“I respect people’s decisions at the end of the day,” he added. “They have to make it based on research and science and on their unique medical condition.”