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.