“After a lot of prayer and deliberation, I have decided I must put my family and personal health first,” Williams wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Williams said she made the decision after consulting with her doctor and a fertility specialist.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine for people trying to get pregnant and their partners. “Currently no evidence shows that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems (problems trying to get pregnant) in women or men,” the CDC says.
“This was a deeply difficult decision to make and it’s not something I take lightly,” Williams added in her statement. “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 joined ESPN in 2011 and focuses on college sports.
Disney, which owns ESPN, has mandated that employees be fully vaccinated by the end of September.