Amarillo health experts alarmed with increase of Vitamin K refusal

Health experts say it’s a simple step, preventing a potentially life-threatening problem in...
Health experts say it’s a simple step, preventing a potentially life-threatening problem in newborns, a Vitamin K injection.
Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 4:02 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Health experts say it’s a simple step, preventing a potentially life-threatening problem in newborns, a Vitamin K injection.

The InfantRisk Center at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center says the injections have been recommended and the standard since the early 1960s.

In recent years, refusal of the injection has been increasing, causing many doctors to be alarmed.

“This is really concerning because it’s a very simple thing that can prevent major problems, including brain bleeds,” said Christine Garner, Ph.D., RD, assistant professor, InfantRisk Center at TTUHSC.

She says Vitamin K is an important factor for blood clotting.

“If blood isn’t clotting, well then you can have excess bleeding and when bleeding occurs in the brain, it’s not something you can see,” said Dr. Garner.

Dr. Garner says refusing the injection increases the risks of bleeding by 81 times.

“That’s really a substantial risk, nobody wants their infant to to have such a major problem that could not only put their brain at risk, but also their life, it’s a really serious and potentially fatal consequence,” said Dr. Garner.

Dr. Garner also explains why an oral dose of vitamin K is not a good substitute for the injection.

“Infants cannot absorb vitamin K as well, especially newborns their gut just isn’t very mature and their gut flora isn’t well developed either, so oral Vitamin K really is not an adequate substitute for the injection, particularly because Vitamin K deficiency bleeding occurs most commonly between about day two and day seven of life and so by the time an oral vitamin K would begin to work you kind of missed the window,” said Dr. Garner.

The center believes the reason for refusal goes along with the rise of vaccine refusal and misinformation.

It encourages you to research and talk with health experts about the injection rather than believing what you see on social media or the internet.

To learn more on the InfantRisk Center’s research of Vitamin K injection refusal, click here.