Fox News host Sean Hannity denied Thursday night that he said viewers should get vaccinated against COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and ripped “idiots in the media mob” for reporting otherwise.
“I never told anyone to get a vaccine,” Mr. Hannity said during his cable show. “I’ve been very clear. I am simply not qualified. I am not a medical doctor.”
Mr. Hannity, one of the country’s most well-known conservative media personalities, made headlines this week after delivering a dialogue imploring his audience to “please take COVID seriously.”
“I can’t say it enough. Enough people have died. We don’t need any more deaths,” Mr. Hannity said Monday night. “It absolutely makes sense for many Americans to get vaccinated.”
Those remarks were followed by news reports stating that Mr. Hannity was suddenly urging his audience to get vaccinated against COVID-19. But he has since clarified that is not the case.
“Let me say this one more time for all the idiots in the media mob to hear loudly and clearly: I am not a doctor. I will not dispense medical advice without a license,” he said.
“Please, to my audience, take it seriously. I have seen the worst of it firsthand. Please research. Please talk to your doctor. Please be careful,” Mr. Hannity said.
COVID-19 has killed more than 600,000 people in the U.S. since the start of 2020. Studies found approved vaccines greatly reduce the likelihood of severe illness, hospitalization or death from the disease.
A little more than half the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vaccines are given in one or two shots.
More than 43% of the nation remains unvaccinated, however, while recent polling showed that Republicans are substantially more likely than Democrats to say they will refrain from getting a vaccine.