Fox News personality Sean Hannity criticized the “liberal press” on Thursday, after some critics seemed to express surprise at his comments on the seriousness of COVID-19, and said he had seen the worst of the virus “firsthand.”
Hannity’s remarks about COVID on his show on Monday went viral. He urged viewers to “take COVID seriously” but some critics said his statement had come too late.
On Thursday, Hannity responded to criticism and explained that he won’t advise anyone to take vaccines because he’s not a medical professional and doesn’t know his viewers’ medical history.
Hannity said: “I have no idea why, but it was only in the last week my coverage of coronavirus, COVID-19, got the attention of the liberal press.”
He said that some in the media had tried to paint Fox News as a “dangerous anti-vax network” and dismissed critics who said he had “suddenly” changed his position on COVID.
Hannity argued that he had always said the virus should be taken seriously and he went on to explain why he wouldn’t tell people to get a vaccine.
“I am simply not qualified,” Hannity said. “I am not a medical doctor. I know nothing about your medical history or your current medical condition. I think it’s inappropriate for me to do so. Instead, for over a year now I have been warning my viewers—you make my career possible.
“I want every American—liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat—I want you to be healthy. I have seen the worst of this virus in people that I love and care about […] to take COVID-19 seriously. And I’ve said it over and over and over again. It’s not been in the last week. I said to take it seriously, to do your own research.”
He said he’d hosted doctors on his show to talk about COVID and the vaccine, among other medical issues related to the pandemic.
“We passed on the information to inform people on how all Americans can stay healthy,” Hannity said.
Hannity also showed a series of clips where he told his audience to take the disease seriously.
“Let me say this one more time for all the idiots in the media mob to hear loudly and clearly,” Hannity went on. “I am not a doctor. I will not dispense medical advice without a license. Please, to my audience, take it seriously. I have seen the worst of this firsthand.”
Hannity said he was grateful to medical professionals for their role in fighting the pandemic and added that he believes in the science of vaccinations.
During his Monday show, Hannity old viewers: “Please take COVID seriously, I can’t say it enough. Enough people have died, we don’t need more deaths.”
“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. Take it seriously,” he said.
Fox News has been regularly criticized over comments made about the vaccine and COVID restrictions.
Newsweek has asked Fox News for comment.