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When resistance to vaccines slides into resistance to vitamin K - and the consequences for the children

One simple injection can save parents and children a lot of suffering, and the possibility of complications that will accompany the child for the rest of his life. Nevertheless, recently a new 'fashionable' trend began to spread in which parents in the United States refuse to give the injection

Melissa and Mark Knotwitz, with their two children. One of the children suffered cerebral hemorrhages as a result of a lack of vitamin K, after the parents decided not to approve giving the toddler an injection. Source: Vanderbilt Hospital
Melissa and Mark Knotwitz, with their two children. One of the children suffered cerebral hemorrhages as a result of a lack of vitamin K, after the parents decided not to approve giving the toddler an injection. Source: Vanderbilt Hospital

Melissa Knotwitz gave birth to her twin sons, Abel and Silas, at Vanderbilt Hospital. When the doctors asked her permission to inject the children with the usual dose of vitamin K, Melissa exchanged worried looks with her husband Mark. They decided not to approve the injection, even though it is a treatment given to every baby. The reason? They heard that the injection causes leukemia - blood cancer. The doctors respected their decision, and the couple returned home to raise the children.

A few weeks later they returned to the hospital, carrying one of the twins. The doctors initially suspected that it was blood poisoning, but when they discovered that there were bleedings in the depths of the toddler's brain, they realized that this was a particularly serious case of vitamin K deficiency, also known in medical parlance as VKDB - "bleeding due to vitamin K deficiency".

If you haven't heard much hype about vitamin K, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Most of us don't notice it until it's missing. This substance, which is important for blood clotting, is produced in the body itself by the bacteria in the intestine, but soft babies do not have a large population of bacteria in their bodies, so they may suffer from a lack of vitamin K. The syndrome mainly attacks babies who have not received vitamin K and who are exclusively breastfed, since the levels of vitamin K in mother's milk are particularly low.

Even in cases where the babies do not receive vitamin K, the chance of developing internal bleeding is relatively low. According to reports from Europe and Asia, only 7.2 children out of every 100,000 births develop the syndrome [1]. This is not a high chance, but one injection of vitamin K in the first days of life can completely prevent the fear of internal bleeding in the weeks after birth [2].

These data explain why many countries subsidize (including Israel) vitamin K injection to the newborn. One simple injection can save parents and children a lot of suffering, and the possibility of complications that will accompany the child for the rest of his life. Nevertheless, recently a new 'fashionable' trend began to spread in which parents in the United States refuse to give the injection. Out of all the children born in 'birth centers' which are a friendly and homely alternative to hospitals, Twenty eight percent do not receive the injection. Even among the children born in the hospitals, a refusal rate of 3.4 percent was recorded.

Why do the parents refuse the injection? The concerns they mention are strikingly similar to concerns about vaccines, and no wonder: the information on these issues comes mainly from websites that are also opposed to vaccines. Thus, on one of the websites you can find claims that the injection contains a cocktail of dangerous substances, such as "Vitamin K is not natural” (because natural substances, like cyanide, are always healthy. That was sarcasm, if you didn't notice), or "Phenol... a toxic substance extracted from tar” (and is found in such tiny concentrations that they are not harmful to the child, as has already been thoroughly tested). In short, the same claims that came from the opponents of vaccines and are ultimately based on a complete lack of trust in the medical and scientific system, rear their heads here as well.

In some of the websites that oppose the administration of vitamin K, you can also find a reference to a single study from 1992, which claims that the injection increases the risk of developing blood cancer later in life [3]. This is also a common tactic used by those opposed to vaccines: clinging to studies from the past that have long been disproved, and ignoring the current studies that explain the source of the error. This fallacy is so common that it has earned its own name - "picking cherries” – since the opponents pick with tweezers only the most impressive 'cherries' that fit their theory, and ignore all the other fruits that present a wider picture.

An example of "Cherry Picking" in searching for results on Google

But what really is the connection between cancer and vitamin K? Does not exist. just like that. Additional studies that have taken place in the last twenty-two years have completely discredited any connection between the injection and blood cancer. The data for these additional studies came from England [4] and America [5], and in-depth reviews of the variety of evidence found no connection between the injection and cancer of any kind [6]. If all this is not enough, additional studies have found that leukemia in childhood has early genetic signs that can be detected while the fetus is growing in the womb, and there is no connection between the onset of the disease and the administration of the vitamin [7]. And in short, there is no reason not to give babies an injection of vitamin K shortly after birth.


I am often asked why I care so much about the opinions of others.

"Why is it important to you that others accept the theory of evolution, or understand that children should be vaccinated?" My friends claim.

I have many answers to these questions, including the fact that parents not vaccinating their children can lead to the death of the elderly, cancer patients and other people with weakened immune systems who will be exposed to the diseases the children carry. But in Yom's summary, the truth is that people who base their opinions on a distorted and conspiratorial understanding of the world - for example, that the entire medical establishment is against us, or the entire scientific establishment is against religion - will also make other wrong decisions in other areas. Because of this, although I am disappointed that there is a trend against vitamin K, I am not surprised that it comes from the very same sites and parents who are also anti-vaccine. Those who today do not understand the importance of vaccines and their benefits, will also oppose vitamin injections, innovative medical treatments against cancer and any other technological development that contradicts the distorted sources of information on which he relies.

How can the wave of resistance based on insufficient information be stopped? Simple: to explain the rules of thinking that guide doctors, scientists and public figures in formulating medical strategies, and to understand the motives behind these strategies. You can find wonderful explanations for all these issues, including sharp criticism of the medical establishment when there is justification for it, in the various blogs of the skeptic community in Israel and around the world,The end of the world - a view from the stands, sharp thinking, Science-based medicine (in English) and others.

If Melissa and Mark Knotwitz had been exposed to all this information, their son's situation may have been different today. Mark Knotwitz blames the doctor for not explaining the importance of the injection to him, and he may be right, but the damage has already been done. The baby is currently undergoing physical therapy to treat developmental difficulties, and it is not yet clear if he will fully recover mentally as well. We wish him a speedy and complete recovery as possible, and hope that we will not encounter cases of this type in Israel as well. In the end, it depends only on us.

[1] HY von Kreis R, "Neonatal vitamin K prophylaxis. Report of Scientific and Standardization Subcommittee on Perinatal Haemostasis," Thrombosis and Haemostasis, pp. 293 – 295, 1993.
[2] Committee on Fetus and Newborn, "Controversies Concerning Vitamin K and the Newborn," Pediatrics: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, pp. 191 – 192, 2003.
[3] GRBKMM Golding J, "Childhood cancer, intramuscular vitamin K, and pethidine given during labor," BMJ, pp. 341 – 346, 1992.
[4] SC Draper GJ, "Intramuscular vitamin K and childhood cancer," BMJ, pp. 709 – 711, 1992.
[5] SDYJJPEBCHJPCMMMFFJJ Devesa SS, "Cancer incidence and mortality trends among whites in the United States, 1947-84," Journal of the National Cancer Institute, pp. 701 – 770, 1987.
[6] DS Ross JA, "Vitamin K prophylaxis and childhood cancer," Medical and Pediatric Oncology, pp. 434 – 437, 2000.
[7] CGDMEOAGMGSVBAGM Wiemels JL, "Prenatal origin of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children," Lancet, pp. 1499 – 1503, 1999.

5 תגובות

  1. Dr.Roey Tsezana, you are living in a delusional movie of what you were not taught about vaccines
    But now in the 2020s you will soon find out the truth about the vaccines at all
    Including the terrible vaccine that will be for Corona or does it already exist because everything is fabricated by the evil Bill Gates
    If you didn't understand anything, don't worry
    In Kernav you will understand...

  2. Herzl
    I agree of course that excessive consumption of anything is not good. For example, 8 glasses of water a day - it only makes you pee all the time and does not contribute anything.
    The matter is if the salt is triangular. First of all, there is no research showing that there is a correlation between salt consumption and high blood pressure. The second thing - the only substance that has ever been proven to affect IQ is ... salt 🙂 (with the addition of iodine, not the "sea salt" of idiots). And the third - salt also contains potassium, which is essential for the body, and is often obtained precisely from salting food.

  3. Nissim: Thanks for the update - I didn't know (or forgot?). Salt is a matter that is really above the level of understanding of our health minister. Salt is essential for us. That she will try to live without salt - we will see results quickly - maybe her replacement will restore the fluoridation. But salt does kill millions of people every year, when consuming more than 20 times what is needed by the body (the average in the US) or when there is a condition of obesity and high blood pressure. So as Maimonides said - everything in moderation. Apparently there are people who don't understand the difference between proportionality and a total ban, and it's a shame that such people end up in our politics.

  4. Herzl
    Milla, who canceled the fluoridation of the water, she tried in the past to ban putting salt on tables in restaurants, even though salt is generally healthy...

  5. It's just a shame that all the anti-vaccines of all kinds harm their children and not themselves. Soon they will also oppose the penicillin drops that are injected into the eyes of every newborn to prevent blindness. I wonder if the prosecution in the US prosecuted the injury to the twin? Probably not because it happened in Tennessee, a state where most of the residents are religious extremists. In a rational country such parents would be punished for harming children. But we are not a completely rational country either - see the Minister of Health who canceled the florence. She may still cancel all vaccinations for children in Israel.

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