Allison Williams, a longtime ESPN college football and basketball reporter announced on Thursday that she would be stepping down from her role because of the network’s mandatory vaccination for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Williams revealed on Twitter that the reason for her refusal was that she and her spouse were planning to conceive a second child.
“While my work is incredibly important to me, the most important role I have is as a mother,” Williams posted on Twitter. “Throughout our family planning with our doctor, as well as a fertility specialist, I have decided not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time while my husband and I try for a second child.”
“This was a deeply difficult decision to make and it’s not something I take lightly,” she continued. “I understand vaccines have been essential in the effort to end this pandemic; however, taking the vaccine at this time is not in my best interest. After a lot of prayer and deliberation, I have decided I must put my family and personal health first. I will miss being on the sidelines and am thankful for the support of my ESPN family. I look forward to when I can return to the games and job that I love.”
Some health experts have claimed that COVID-19 vaccines pose no threat to pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding, and those who would like to conceive.
“There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) page about the safety of vaccines for women’s reproductive health.
However, there have been dozens of reported stillbirths and miscarriages among pregnant women who have received the vaccines. Co-managed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a national safety monitoring system that is designed to capture reports of side effects after vaccination.
According to an article from The Epoch Times, a 31-year-old physician in Tennessee, who was five weeks pregnant, suffered a miscarriage after being administered the Pfizer vaccine. Just five days after being immunized with the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, a 33-year-old Indiana nurse in her third week of pregnancy had a miscarriage. The adverse event report also included a birth defect.
After receiving the first dose of the Moderna vaccine in January, a 32-year-old woman in Virginia suffered a miscarriage. She was eight weeks pregnant and had sought the advice of two obstetricians and gynecologists prior to getting the vaccine.
ESPN informed its 5,500 traveling employees that they had to be vaccinated by Aug. 1, in an attempt to adhere to varying entry requirements at different sporting events and venues.
ESPN’s parent company, Walt Disney, announced in late July that all employees were required to get vaccinated by Sep. 30.
“Employees who aren’t already vaccinated and are working on-site will have 60 days from today to complete their protocols and any employees still working from home will need to provide verification of vaccination prior to their return, with certain limited exceptions,” Disney said in a statement announcing the vaccine mandate.
ESPN issued the following statement to TheWrap, “We aren’t going to comment on an individual. We are going through a thorough review of accommodation requests on a case by case basis, and are granting accommodations where warranted. Our focus is on a safe work environment for everyone.”
Williams joined ESPN in March 2011. She previously worked for Fox Sports Florida. In her tweet, she said that this would be the first time in over a decade that she would not be on the sidelines, but she’s at peace with her decision.
After President Joe Biden announced vaccine mandates for companies with more than 100 employees, many companies, including The Daily Wire, chose to defy it. Jeremy Boreing, CEO, said, “It’s anti-science, and it’s totalitarian and we cannot comply with it.” He also stated that the company would use every tool at its disposal, including legal action, to resist.