According to Mother Jones, several hospitals have been reporting an uptick in VKDB since May. VKDB stands for “vitamin K deficiency bleeding,” which happens when infants don’t get enough vitamin K. Since vitamin K is a coagulant, it keeps the rare disorder at bay. Human infants are lacking in vitamin K when they’re first born, so, since 1961, a simple injection of the vitamin into the leg muscle has been used to head off the disorder. Without that injection of vitamin K, the bleeding can develop anywhere in the body, including the brain.
Blood on the brain is not good at any age, but hours or days after birth, it’s even worse.
And no, you usually don’t get enough vitamin K from your mother’s breast milk or from her body. Thus, the simple shot is in order. A simple shot that the idiots in the anti-vaxx movement are now avoiding, resulting in the rise of VKDB incidents:
So then why are some parents refusing to get it, leaving their infants vulnerable to a potentially devastating condition? It’s difficult to understand the phenomenon outside the context of a growing fear, in general, about vaccines in the US. “There’s a lot of overlap with that anti-vaccine mentality,” says [pediatrician Clay] Jones. Indeed, reporting on the Vanderbilt VKDB cases, the Tennessean explained that “Vanderbilt doctors believe incidences are on the rise because of the anti-vaccine movement.”
VKDB comes in two versions, an “early” form (occurring in the first week of life) and the much more dangerous “late” form, which tends to strike infants between two and 12 weeks old who have not received Vitamin K, and who are “exclusively breastfed” by their mothers. The problem, writes Jones, is that “levels of vitamin K in breast milk are low, much lower than in infant formula.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infants who do not receive a vitamin K injection have an 81 times greater chance of coming down with late stage VKDB. Even then the risk remains small: Between 4.4 and 7.2 infants out of every 100,000. But a Vitamin K injection is “virtually 100 percent protective,” Jones explains.
Chris Mooney, the author of the Mother Jones piece, did a quick Google search, finding a number of sites packed with “dire warnings” about the vitamin K shots:
A quick Google search returns a number of dire warnings about vitamin K shots circulating on the Internet. One of the top results is an article at TheHealthyHomeEconomist.com, which urges readers to “Skip that Newborn Vitamin K Shot,” before going on to list an array of “dangerous ingredients in the injection cocktail.” (The site also calls vaccines “scientific fraud.”)
And then there’s physician Joseph Mercola (whose popular website calls vaccinations “very neurotoxic” and suggests they are associated with a list of conditions, including autism). In another article on his site, Mercola suggests there is a “Potential Dark Side” to the vitamin K shot. “A needle stick can be a terrible assault to a baby’s suddenly overloaded sensory system, which is trying to adjust to the outside world,” it reads. (Although Mercola himself rejects and debunks the alleged leukemia link.) Mercola instead suggests administering vitamin K orally, claiming it’s “safe and equally effective.”
Of course, Mercola is a fraud. As Mother Jones highlights, the best way to give vitamin K is via injection.
For all that’s good and holy, this madness has to end. In their rush to prevent autism by denying shots that don’t cause it, anti-vaxxers are actually increasing their child’s risk of significant brain damage. And it’s not the parents who have to spend the rest of their lives living with that. It’s the children.