16 Apr 2015

Study pinpoints parents unlikely to immunise

11:38 pm on 16 April 2015

A new study shows parents who turn down vitamin K for their newborns are far more likely not to immunise their children.

The University of Otago study took the medical records of about 3500 babies born in Dunedin in 2010 and 2011.

From the 3 percent of parents who declined vitamin K for their newborns, 17 percent continued to turn down early childhood vaccinations for their children.

In comparison, of those who consented to vitamin K, only 1.2 percent declined immunisations subsequently.

The injection is given to newsborns to prevent vitamin K deficiency bleeding, which can be fatal.

Lead researcher Dr Ben Wheeler said the figures highlighted the importance of education for young parents about immunisations and other public health initiatives.

"This could be a way of targetting families at the very earliest point, straight after birth, and predicting those who might go on to decline immunisaiton.

"And that could provide an opportunity for additional education or support."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs