Public/Global Health

Former ESPN reporter compares Biden's comments on vaccine mandates to a dictator

Former ESPN reporter Allison Williams compared President Biden's comments on vaccine mandates to something a dictator would say. 

Williams, who left ESPN because of the network's vaccine mandates, offered the opinion during an appearance on SiriusXM's "The Megyn Kelly Show."

"I have never been so jarred by anything a president said," Williams told Kelly. "To hear the leader of the free world stand up and say, 'this isn't about your freedom,' I thought 'oh my god, it is always about our freedom.' "

"If we don't have freedom over our own bodies ... we aren't free," Williams said. "That was scary to me, that is something a dictator says. That is not something a leader of free people says."

The Biden administration announced last month that all private employers with 100 or more employees will be required to mandate COVID-19 vaccine and daily testing, requiring vaccines for federal workers and contractors as well. 

COVID-19 cases and deaths spiked across the country throughout the summer primarily among the unvaccinated. The U.S. trails a number of western countries in its vaccination rate.

Vaccines have proven effective in keeping people from dying or being hospitalized, and vaccination rates have ticked up as various businesses have imposed vaccine mandates.

But that has also triggered a backlash among GOP officials, who have opposed mandates.

Williams announced on Instagram on Sunday that she's leaving ESPN after she refused to get vaccinated.

Williams said she decided not to get vaccinated because she and her husband are planning to conceive a second child.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

Williams, who used to work as a sideline reporter for ESPN's College Football coverage, told Kelly that people shouldn't be judged for their choices. 

"Everybody acts like 'this was your choice, you chose not to get it, so get a different job," Williams told Kelly. "That's not choice, that's coercion. Consent is fundamental to everything we do if we want to be a free people."

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