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Economy & Business

ESPN's Allison Williams explains why she's giving up her job over a vaccine mandate

ESPN reporter Allison Williams reports from a college basketball tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on March 8, 2017. Williams said in an Instagram video that she is leaving ESPN due to the company's vaccine mandate.
ESPN reporter Allison Williams reports from a college basketball tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on March 8, 2017. Williams said in an Instagram video that she is leaving ESPN due to the company's vaccine mandate.

ESPN college basketball and football reporter Allison Williams has joined a small minority of workers who have quit or been fired from their jobs over a vaccine mandate.

"I have been denied my request for accommodation by ESPN and the Walt Disney Company, and effective next week, I will be separated from the company," she said in a video posted to Instagram on Friday.

ESPN's parent company, Disney, had announced a vaccine mandate over the summer with a deadline of this Friday, Oct. 22.

In early September, Williams shared on Twitter that she'd decided not to get a COVID-19 vaccine while she and her husband were trying to have a second child.

"Taking the vaccine at this time is not in my interest," she wrote.

The CDC has urged people who are pregnant or might become pregnant to get vaccinated, saying there is currently no evidence showing COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems and no data pointing to an increased risk of miscarriage among people who received an mRNA vaccine during pregnancy.

In the Instagram video, Williams spoke of her medical apprehensions about receiving the vaccine and added, "I am also so morally and ethically not aligned with this."

"Ultimately, I cannot put a paycheck over principle, and I will not sacrifice something that I believe and hold so strongly to maintain a career," she said in the video. "I'm going to pray things get better and that I can see you on the television set in some capacity in some stadium, covering some game soon."

Williams, who had reported for ESPN since 2011, acknowledged she's not the only one walking away from a career or a profession they love.

Hundreds of hospital workers have quit rather than get vaccinated, but they represent only a tiny fraction of employees overall. For example, Duke Health in North Carolina reported it had fired just 20 people out of a workforce of 23,000.

Meanwhile, United Airlines said it is terminating a couple of hundred of its 67,000 employees who did not comply with the airline's vaccine mandate. Other employers that have imposed vaccine mandates are also reporting compliance rates topping 90%.

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