Longtime ESPN college football and basketball reporter Allison Williams said Thursday she won’t be on the sidelines this football season because she won’t be getting the Covid-19 vaccine.
“My heart hurts posting this but I’m at peace with my decision,” she wrote on Twitter. “While my work is incredibly important to me, the most important role I have is as a mother. Throughout our family planning with our doctor, as well as 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.”
Doctors have been repeating for months that the Covid-19 vaccines are safe for pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding and women who would like to have babies.
“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 page about the safety of the vaccines for women’s reproductive health.
In her tweet, Williams added: “This was a deeply difficult decision to make and it’s not something I take lightly. 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.”
She previously worked for Fox Sports Florida. She joined ESPN in 2011.
The Walt Disney Company, which co-owns ESPN, announced in late July that it would require all salaried and non-union employees to be vaccinated within 60 days.
ESPN had told their 5,500 traveling employees in May that they would need to be vaccinated by Aug. 1 in an effort to adhere to varying requirements at different sporting events and venues.
An ESPN statement said the company would not “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,” the statement said. “Our focus is on a safe work environment for everyone.”
Williams said she was “thankful for the support of my ESPN family,” adding “I look forward to when I can return to the games and job I love.”
Elisha Fieldstadt is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.