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Sideline reporter Allison Williams leaving ESPN over vaccine mandate

Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Allison Williams decided to leave her job at ESPN in response to parent company Disney's mandate for all employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, the college football and basketball sideline reporter announced.

Williams made the announcement Friday on Instagram. She said ESPN denied her "request for accommodation" and she will be "separated" from the company this week.

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"Belief is a word I've been thinking about a lot lately, because in addition to the medical apprehensions regarding my desire to have another child in regards to receiving this injection, I am also so morally and ethically not aligned with this," Williams said in an Instagram video.

Williams joined ESPN in 2011. She announced in September that she would not be a part of this season's college football coverage because she was unvaccinated and trying to have a second child.

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"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," Williams tweeted in September. "After a lot of prayer and deliberation, I have decided I must put my family and personal health first."

Disney's vaccine mandate is to go into effect Friday. The company announced at the end of July that all salaried and non-union hourly employees, including the 4,000 people at ESPN, must be vaccinated within 60 days. Disney employs a more than 200,000 people worldwide.

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An ESPN spokesperson told NBC that the network is "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," the spokesperson said.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention website states that "there is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men."

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The CDC also says vaccination is "recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future."

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released guidelines in June that stated companies are allowed to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory.

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