Many Parents Who Refuse Infant Vitamin K Refuse All Vaccinations For Their Children interview with:
Dr. Shannon MacDonald PhD
Department of Pediatrics, University of Calgary, Calgary and
Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. MacDonald: We found that vitamin K was refused by only a very small number of parents in our study population (0.3%) but that the number appears to be increasing (almost doubling in the past 7 years). The parents that refused vitamin K for their child were more likely to be those that delivered at home and/or with a midwife. We also found that parents who refused vitamin K for their child were also much more likely to go on to refuse all vaccinations by 15 months of age.

Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. MacDonald: We had expected we might find an association between vitamin K refusal and vaccination refusal, but we were pretty surprised by the strength of the association (children whose parents refused vitamin K were 14 times more likely to not receive any of the recommended vaccines by 15 months of age).

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. MacDonald: Clinicians need to ensure that parents are educated about the importance of vitamin K prophylaxis, and that such education takes place well in advance of the time of delivery. If the parents are planning a home and/or midwife-assisted birth, family doctors should be discussing vitamin K during pre-conception care of women.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. MacDonald: It would be valuable to pursue research to better understand the reasons for parental refusal of vitamin K and to identify targets to intervention.


Neonatal Vitamin K Refusal and Nonimmunization
Vanita Sahni, Florence Y. Lai, and Shannon E. MacDonald
Pediatrics peds.2014-1092; published ahead of print August 18, 2014, doi:10.1542/peds.2014-1092


Last Updated on August 25, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD