ESPN reporter opts out of vaccine, will take leave

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ESPN college sports reporter Allison Williams will take a leave of absence after she opted out of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Williams, who is currently trying to conceive, said she made the decision in consultation with her doctors and family.

“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,” she said.

““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 added.

The CDC says there is no evidence that shows any vaccines, including the newly developed coronavirus one, cause any issues with fertility in women or men. There is also not significant evidence that getting the shot affects unborn children and thousands of pregnant women have already received the vaccine and given birth to healthy children, including during clinical studies before the vaccine was released to the public.

ESPN parent Disney is requiring all employees to be vaccinated by the end of September 2021. It is not providing a testing only alternative.

It’s not immediately clear if Williams will be paid during her leave, though, in general, she likely could use accrued paid time off to continue gathering her salary and staying on the company’s benefits.

Williams is not to be confused with the former Miss West Virginia who rose to fame after a pornographic video of purporting to be her having sex in a news van was released. Williams denied it was her in the video and successfully sued multiple outlets that reported she was in the video.

ESPN’s Williams is not to be confused with the daughter of Brian Williams, who is an actress.

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are highly recommended by multiple public health officials and experts. COVID-19 vaccines and boosters have undergone extensive testing and monitoring to ensure their safety. Scientific research has shown the vaccines and boosters to be very safe and highly effective any may help stop you from contracting COVID-19 or resulting in less severe symptoms and chance of hospitalization or death. For more information about COVID-19 and coronavirus, visit the CDC website. You can locate a free vaccination site or clinic near you at As with any medical decision, you should always discuss your options with your doctor.