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President Biden participates in a CNN Town Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Wednesday. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden jabbed at Fox News during his CNN town hall Wednesday night, saying the network had "an altar call" over stepping up messaging on getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: Fox News has long been criticized for allowing some of its personalities to spread misinformation as they've railed against pandemic measures.

  • The network started pointing viewers in a public service announcement this week to a link on its website to locate their nearest coronavirus vaccines — though a spokesperson noted in an email to Axios that its vaccine PSAs were nothing new.
  • On Monday, Sean Hannity implored viewers to "take COVID seriously." Two other hosts on the most-watched U.S. cable news network also advocated for COVID-19 vaccinations on their shows.

What he's saying: "I'm not being a wise guy now, you know, one of those other networks is 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," Biden said, without naming Fox.

  • "They've had an altar call, some of those guys. All of a sudden they're out there saying, let’s get vaccinated. Let’s get vaccinated. The very people before this were saying ... I shouldn't make fun of it. That's good."

What they're saying: While the network's current PSA on coronavirus vaccines received media attention this past week, a spokesperson for Fox News said there have been vaccine-focused PSAs dating back to February this year.

  • She also pointed Axios to a series of personalities promoting the COVID vaccine, which go back back to January.

Go deeper

Around 65% of Philadelphia city employees vaccinated

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Roughly 65% of the city's employees are fully vaccinated, as of Tuesday — below the city average of 71%.

  • Vaccination rates by department will be released later Thursday.

Why it matters: It's been almost two months since Philly's early September deadline for its workers to get vaccinated passed. Yet up until last week, only a third had shown proof of vaccination.

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

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