The Walt Disney Company has been at the forefront of vaccine mandates for employees and Cast Members working in all areas of the company, from theme parks, to film studios, to ESPN and ABC roles and more.
While the majority of employees have already become fully vaccinated (the deadline to do so was this month), few have avoided the COVID-19 vaccine, with about a dozen or so Walt Disney World Cast Members protesting the mandate last month. Reports at the time of the Walt Disney World protest cited that a similar event would take place for Cast Members at Disneyland, but it appears as though that protest never followed through.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek has also met with President Biden and other industry leaders whose companies have had success with vaccine mandates to share insight on creating a national strategy for improving vaccination rates.
Following all of this, on-air ESPN reporter Allison Williams opted to not get vaccinated against COVID-19 following an apparent discussion with her physician. Williams shared with followers on her social media channels, “We all want to end this pandemic, but ultimately an injection that does not stop transmission and spread for me did not weigh in for me morally.”
Williams later shared more specific reasoning for her refusal to vaccinate herself against the virus, stating that she consulted the decision with her physician and ultimately decided that the vaccine was not the course of action that would be best for her at this time while her and her husband are planning on having a second child.
She reportedly made a request for her vaccine requirement to be waved as a medical accommodation, and it was denied by the company. Her last day with ESPN has not officially been announced at this point, but it will be some time next week.
As for risks related to the COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant women, or women hoping to become pregnant, the CDC as well as the scientists behind the vaccine and many physicians and experts in the field believe that it is safe and recommended for those women to become fully vaccinated, to protect themselves, their future children, and others around them from the virus.
While the Walt Disney Company has not made any public comments on Williams’ termination, they have said that they accept accommodations that are consistent with what they are legally obligated to make exceptions for, and that the company’s goal with the vaccine mandate is to create a safe environment for everyone at work and any Guests, athletes, or fans that workers may come into contact with.