Reporter Allison Williams is abandoning her position with ESPN over the vaccine mandate, saying she would not take the jabs.
The popular reporter was noticeably absent from television screens during the first week of the college football season. She announced on Thursday, Sept. 9 that she would not be covering any games in 2021.
“This will be the first fall in the last 15 years I won’t be on the sidelines for College Football,” she wrote on Twitter. “My heart hurts posting this but I’m at peace with my decision.”
William decided to pass on the COVID-19 vaccine because she was planning to carry a second child, and she was concerned about the risk associated with the shots.
According to The New York Post, Disney, ESPN’s parent company, imposed the vaccine mandate last month, requiring that all staff be fully immunized.
IIn August, the Delta variant began having a significant impact in the U.S., prompting the White House to push harder for vaccination, moving from just urging to making it compulsory for many organizations.
“Vaccines are the best tool we all have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees,” the company said.
Williams noted she was not anti-vax, but as an expecting mother, she wanted to prepare the best options for her child.
“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,” she said. “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,” Williams added.
Since joining ESPN’s college football and college basketball coverage, Williams had become a prominent sideline reporter for the network.
She was on the network’s top broadcast team with Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler for last October’s showdown between Miami and Clemson.
The vaccines cannot fully guarantee 100% protection against infection from COVID-19 but have been touted to at least fend off severe illnesses caused by the virus and reduce the risk of death.
However, as more people get vaccinated, reports of acute side effects keep emerging among a small proportion of recipients, with problems such as blood clots and heart inflammations. As a result, not everyone wants to risk getting the shots.
Last month, the New York Times reported that the W.H.O. (World Health Organization) and the C.D.C. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) had provided conflicting views about the jabs for pregnant women.
The WHO advised pregnant women not to seek vaccination unless they were at high risk for the virus because of work exposure. The CDC meanwhile said women should look for a doctor’s opinion before taking the jabs.