Columbus, OH,
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Columbus Dispatch: Pregnant, Vaccinated and Contracted COVID-19

The COVID pandemic has brought so many twists and turns, changing information, often week-to-week or day-to-day. Trying to keep on top of things for individuals has been a tremendous challenge. Then the vaccines became available and people started to dig into the information and facts. Now imagine trying to not only do that for yourself, but for your unborn child.

For Brandon and Stephanie Sholl, that is the exact scenario they were looking at in 2020. In late November, they both had contracted COVID. They also both worked for OhioHealth and had seen the impact up close and personal with patients. In February, the couple learned they were pregnant with their first child.

“We were hesitant (to get vaccinated),” Brandon said to The Columbus Dispatch. “There wasn’t a lot of data out there that would tell you objectively how much better off you would be, since we had already had (COVID). The actual amount of research about contracting it a second time at that point was non-existent.”

Stephanie was not going to get the vaccine, but the data started to point to something very important for the couple. More pregnant women were having bad outcomes if they got the virus while they were pregnant, and the numbers weren't promising for the baby either.

Then one day Brandon was working at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital when he ran into someone who could answer his question questions. That was OhioHealth medical director of infectious diseases, Joe Gastaldo, MD.

“It was just dumb luck,” Brandon said to Ken Gordon. “If there’s one person I could talk to about vaccinations I truly respected, it was him, so I jumped at the chance.”

“There really is an art about talking to people about these issues,” Gastaldo said to The Columbus Dispatch. “You don’t want to talk at somebody, you want to talk with them and listen to them. There really is a respectful way to do it. I don’t want people to feel like, `You’re not vaccinated, you’re one of those people, so I’m not going to talk to you.’ That’s not who we are at OhioHealth.”

It turns out, he had an audience of two that day. Stephanie just happened to be at the hospital for a check-up and talked with Dr. Gastaldo too.

Armed with new information, Stephanie then went back to her own doctor.

“She was not pushy at all, she told me that the national guidelines and statistics showed that he (Wyatt) would be OK,” Stephanie said to Gordon.

That was what she needed. She and Brandon both got the vaccine. Then, at 37 weeks, Stephanie got COVID again. She only showed mild symptoms and gave birth to Wyatt weeks later. The entire family was healthy and is doing great now.

“My experience is that I don’t regret getting it. It could have gone south, and it didn’t," said Stephanie to The Columbus Dispatch. 

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