ESPN reporter Allison Williams said she will be “separated” from the company after it denied her request for an accommodation that would exempt her from its COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Ms. Williams, a popular sideline reporter at college football games, said she and her husband are trying to have a second child and her doctor recommended that she hold off on the shots, although federal health officials recommend the vaccine for pregnant women.
“Belief is a word I’ve been thinking about a lot lately because in addition to the medical apprehensions regarding my desire to have another child in regards to receiving this injection, I am also so morally and ethically not aligned with this,” Ms. Williams said in an Instagram video posted over the weekend. “And I’ve had to really dig deep and analyze my values and my morals, and ultimately I need to put them first.”
“And the irony in all this is that a lot of these same values and morals that I hold dear are what made me a really good employee, what helped with the success that I’m able to have in my career,” she said.
Ms. Williams announced last month she was sidelined from working college football games because she was trying to get pregnant and was seeking a carve-out from the Disney company’s vaccine rules, which include ESPN.
She said her attempts were denied, but she would not “put a paycheck over principle.”
“I don’t know what the future holds, obviously, for any of us. I’m trying to wrap my head around the thought that the largest game I’ve worked in my career, the national championship game, might be the last game I work. But I’m going to focus on what I have to be thankful for,” Ms. Williams said in her video.
Public health experts say the vaccines do not cause known fertility problems, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently made a vocal push for pregnant women to get the shots.
“The CDC health advisory strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination for both pregnant persons and their fetus or infant outweigh known or potential risks,” the agency said. “Additionally, the advisory calls on health departments and clinicians to educate pregnant people on the benefits of vaccination and the safety of recommended vaccines.”