Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Refusal of Vitamin K: A Potential Harbinger of Subsequent Immunization Refusal

By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief 

Photo by  Alexander Torrenegra via Flickr
Recently we have become more and more aware of parents refusing Vitamin K prophylaxis. This is
especially prevalent in settings of home births due to parents not wanting any added pain or injection of artificial substances into their newborns’ bodies despite the minimal (if any) risk of receiving this potentially life-saving medication. So is this a problem, beyond the important risk of bleeding?

Well, if refusal to accept vitamin K means subsequent refusal to also accept other injections, including immunizations into their children, this is a serious issue that requires study to determine if such an association does exist.

Sahni et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-1092) looked at the question of neonatal vitamin K and immunization refusal in a retrospective cohort study of all infants born in Alberta, Canada between 2006 and 2012. Sadly, a highly significant association is identified and the discussion by the authors addresses the “why” and what we might do about this problem.

Do your patients’ parents refuse vitamin K? Do they also refuse vaccines? Have you been able to change their minds, and if so how? We welcome your ideas and comments by responding to this blog, sending an eLetter or sharing your comments on Facebook or Twitter.

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