Kate Broadbelt and Laurie Wolf have many things in common. They work in the service of others in retirement and long-term care homes because they value the relationships they develop among the diverse people who live there. They believe in holistic well-being and the role they can play in supporting it. They have seen the ravages of COVID-19 in their own communities and around the world and now, as the Spring of 2021 unfolds, they are each preparing to bring a child into the world with all the complexities and joys of new motherhood ahead.
One of the most pressing questions they faced in recent months was the decision of whether or not they should be vaccinated against COVID-19 while they nurtured their growing child within.
For many would-be mothers and fathers, it has been a challenging question. A recent survey of team members across Schlegel Villages related to vaccinations found that questions of vaccine safety for pregnant women was one of the common reasons some team members were hesitant.
“If I was not currently pregnant there would be no question,” says Kate, who works in The Village at University Gates as a registered practical nurse. “I would have gotten the vaccine as soon as it was available, because I only had to be concerned about myself. Now being in charge of another life is a huge responsibility, and my husband and I had many conversations about if I should get vaccinated.”
Laurie and her husband were in the same situation. Laurie remembers when the vaccine first became available to the team at the Village of Humber Heights where she is an assistant general manager. She felt almost angry, she says, because at the time, she was about three months along and there wasn’t enough data to support the safety of the vaccine for expecting mothers.
“That was frustrating for me,” Laurie says, “because here I was one of the lucky people who had access to the vaccine and yet, I felt like I couldn’t get it.”
But with more studies and data, reliable information was released indicating the COVID-19 vaccines approved in Canada were not only safe for expecting mothers but encouraged. As a third wave of infections in early 2021 began to seriously affect a shocking number younger Canadians, including a high level of pregnant women who were not only contracting the virus but ending up in Intensive Care Units with frightening complications, Laurie and Kate knew it was important that they took advantage.
“Seeing the changing variants of the virus and how it has really been affecting the younger generation and pregnant women definitely helped encourage the decision to get vaccinated,” Kate says. She and her husband spoke to their obstetrician, they researched the facts and they made the decision together, trusting the science and the experts’ advice above the mis-information flooding social media during these skeptical times. In late April, Kate was beaming as she shared her story on Instagram, thankful she was able to receive her first dose of vaccine. “Being pregnant,” she wrote, “you always want to make the best decisions for you and your baby; as a nurse I really feel this is the right choice!”
Laurie had her first dose not long after when her Village was able to host a clinic for more than 50 team members. She was just as excited knowing she and her husband had done their research and they were doing the best thing for their growing family.
“I believe in science,” Laurie says. She believes vaccines are crucial to getting beyond the pandemic and she knows the danger this virus carries. “I hate to think that you have to wait for somebody close to you to be affected to make a decision; it shouldn’t come to that and I don’t want it to come to that.”
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, Kate and Laurie both received the gift of peace-of-mind when they had their first doses. The protection they are building is a gift they offer the children they are so eager to welcome, and they are both beyond confident in their choice.
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For more information visit: COVID-19 Vaccine Safety