Risks at a glance:
- Uncontrolled bleading
- Brain haemorrhage
Vitamin K is not a vaccine, but some people who refuse vaccines for their children also refuse the newborn vitamin K injection.
Vitamin K is needed by humans for blood clotting. Babies don’t have enough vitamin K in their bodies at birth. Vitamin K does not cross the placenta to the growing baby, and after birth, there is not enough vitamin K in breast milk either. Infant formula has added vitamin K, but even formula-fed babies have very low levels of vitamin K for several days.
With low levels of vitamin K, some babies can have severe bleeding – sometimes into the brain, causing significant brain damage and even death. This bleeding is called haemorrhagic disease of the newborn (HDN) and the vitamin K injection at birth prevents this.