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Fox News told employees to report vaccination status

The media outlet's policies offer a counterpoint to some of its biggest personalities who continue to cast doubt on the effectiveness of the vaccines.
Image: FILE PHOTO - Fox News Channel anchor Sean Hannity poses for photographs as he sits on the set of his show \"Hannity\" at the Fox News Channel's headquarters in New York City
Sean Hannity at the Fox News Channel's studios in New York City, October 28, 2014.Mike Segar / Reuters file

On his Fox News show Wednesday evening, Sean Hannity said the Covid-19 vaccine is "not protecting many people" while interviewing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Just a day earlier, the producers of that segment were required by the day’s end to upload their vaccination status to the company's internal system.

As some Fox News stars continue to question the efficacy of the Covid vaccines, the company has drawn its own line: mandating employees to tell the network if they have been vaccinated, according to an internal memo first published by AdWeek. It is not, however, requiring to employees to be vaccinated to come into the offices.

A Fox News spokesperson directed NBC News to the AdWeek article.

CEO Suzanne Scott said in the memo, which was an updated version of a memo sent in June, that the mandate applies to all employees, including those working remotely.

“This is being done for space planning and contact tracing purposes in conjunction with CDC/state/city health and safety guidelines,” Scott wrote in the memo.

Fox News has also said masks are optional for vaccinated individuals but will be required for all in “small, confined spaces” like control rooms.

Some Fox News hosts have been criticized for minimizing the effects of Covid in its early days and more recently for turning vaccinations into a political fight by pushing back on President Joe Biden's efforts to get Americans vaccinated.

Hannity has wavered in his support of the vaccine. In January, he said he was "having doubts" about getting it. In March, he said "nobody should be pressured" to get vaccinated. Last month, he said it "absolutely makes sense for many Americans to get vaccinated. I believe in science, I believe in the science of vaccination."

His comments Wednesday signaled another shift when he said "the science shows the vaccine will not necessarily protect you." A Fox News spokesperson told Mediaite that Hannity's comments were a reference to comments from CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, who said in early August that the vaccines are "working exceptionally well... but what they can't do anymore is prevent transmission." Hannity did not mention Walensky in the segment.

The vaccines remain highly effective against severe illness and death from the delta variant, which accounts for nearly all new coronavirus cases in the U.S.

Still, the network has maintained its Covid precautions. Despite host Tucker Carlson calling vaccine passports "medical Jim Crow," the network implemented its own this summer called Fox Clear Pass, allowing vaccinated people to enjoy different privileges than their unvaccinated colleagues.