Babies across the US are suffering from horrific injuries — including hemorrhages, brain damage, and even strokes (yes, strokes, in babies) — because of parents refusing a vitamin K shot. This vitamin is needed to coagulate blood, and without it internal bleeding can result.
Vitamin K deficiency is rare in adults, but it doesn’t cross the placental barrier except in limited amounts, so newborn babies are generally low in it. That’s why it’s been a routine injection for infants for over 50 years — while vitamin K deficiency is not a big a risk as other problems, the shot is essentially 100% effective, and is quite safe.
Mind you, this is not a vaccine, which contains minuscule doses of killed or severely weakened microbes to prime the immune system. It’s a shot of a critical vitamin.
Nevertheless, as my friend Chris Mooney writes in Mother Jones, there is an overlap with the anti-vax and “natural health” community. As an example, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the Nashville, Tennessee area, over 3% of parents who gave birth in hospitals refused the injection overall, but in “natural birth” centers that rate shot up to 28%.