Fox News Channel requires employees to self-report their vaccination status, as part of guidelines to keep its workforce safe — even as some of the network’s most popular on-air talent have expressed skepticism and hostility toward U.S. vaccination efforts.
As of Aug. 17, all Fox News employees were required to enter their vaccination status, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott wrote in a memo earlier this week. If staffers don’t provide that information, they’ll be considered unvaccinated and subject to additional requirements, including daily on-site COVID testing, wearing masks in public areas, and social distancing.
Wearing masks remains optional for fully vaccinated Fox News employees, although the network requires staffers to wear a mask “in small, confined spaces with limited opportunities for social distancing and where there are multiple employees, including control rooms,” Scott wrote in the memo.
The updated Fox News coronavirus-safety protocols were first reported by AdWeek. They follow measures the network adopted in June, per a directive from parent Fox Corp., which included “Fox Clear Pass,” a vaccine-passport program that lets employees who voluntarily confirm they are vaccinated enter Fox News locations via a self-screening process.
Fox News personalities have given mixed messages about getting vaccinated against coronavirus. Primetime hosts like Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson have criticized government efforts to get people vaccinated and telling viewers to be wary of efforts to undermine personal freedoms.
In the past two weeks, Fox News dramatically ramped up its anti-vaccination messaging, with 63% of all vaccination segments over that period including claims directly focused at undermining the US immunization effort, according to a study released Thursday from watchdog group Media Matters for America.
On this Tuesday’s edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” for example, the host continued to cast doubt on the efficacy and safety of coronavirus vaccines. Carlson called the push to vaccinate Americans “lunacy” and said, “We should not go along with it. It has nothing to do with medicine. It’s a terrifying precedent that if we let solidify, we will deeply regret. This is not about COVID, it is about the existence of rational decision-making in this country and personal autonomy.”
At the same time, the right-leaning cable news network has taken a few steps to promote vaccines. In July, Fox News debuted a PSA encouraging viewers to get the COVID-19 vaccine and also launched a Vaccine Finder tool on its homepage.