Newest anti-vaxx trend causes babies' brains to bleed

Parents are now denying newborns important Vitamin K injections to avoid unnecessary "toxins"

Published July 28, 2014 8:30PM (EDT)

Innumerable column inches have already been spent taking the anti-vaccination movement to task for its uninformed and dangerous effects on public health. But vaccination isn' the only medical procedure subject to the erroneous, paranoid suspicions of new parents. In the past 10 months, eight babies were brought to Vanderbilt University's Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospitals because their brains were bleeding. The eight infants all had a rare disorder called Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding, or VKDB which is dangerous but totally preventable with simple (and safe) vitamin K injections given shortly after birth.

Why were these innocent children denied this vitamin boost? You guessed it: parents have started refusing the injections, largely because of fears eerily similar to those spread by anti-vaxxers. According to a CDC report, parents who refused the injections cited concern about an increased risk for leukemia and reluctance to pump unnecessary toxins into their children.

Mother Jones' Chris Mooney wrote an excellent report on the phenomenon:

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, 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."

For more on the safety of the Vitamin K injection, listen to the latest episode of the Inquiring Minds podcast (co-hosted by Mooney) featuring pediatrician Clay Jones.


By Joanna Rothkopf

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