This page is an archive for July 21, 2006 of by PAVE. Currently PAVE's URL is This archive was found

Vitamin K & Erythromycin

Although the vitamin k injection and erythromycin are not vaccines, PAVE sometimes is asked whether these procedures are required by law. A North Carolina parent sent me the following information which she obtained from her investigation:

I phoned the legal department of the Maternity Center and they were unable to tell me which statute they were basing their requirements on. I explained to one of their solicitors that their maternity nurse told me I would be reported to DSS (Dept. of Social Services) for not complying as the procedure was mandated by NC law. The lawyer I spoke with said she could not 'advise' me on the topic. I told her I didn't want advice, I wanted to know what law required me to have the procedures performed on my child. She told me to call my obstetrician ... she was clueless.

I then called the Mecklenburg County Department of Youth and Family Services. This is what I have learned:

There are no NC laws mandating that a newborn receive the erythromycin eye treatment and vitamin K injection. However, the hospital can turn in or report a parent to DSS for not complying with the hospital's policies; for example, the vitamin K injection, vaccination, etc. If the child is not in a life threatening situation, ergo the child does NOT require the treatment to save their life, DSS will not accept the complaint. Basically, nothing will be done about it. The hospital can complain all they want, but no action will be taken as it is a parent's right to choose or decline any treatment for their child so long as it is not a life or death situation. So, it is up to me whether or not my child has any of these procedures performed. It is not law, it is simply the hospital's policy. The hospital maintains the right to notify DSS and file a complaint for investigation but DSS will not accept the complaint or investigate the family/parent.

I am outraged that the Maternity Center would manipulate their semantics in an attempt to pressure parents into having 'unnecessary' procedures performed. I am considering writing a letter to the hospital administrator to formally complain. Most people would have accepted the nurse's word that it was law and, by fear of being 'reported' to DSS, gone through with the procedure. This is unfair. Parents have the right to be informed, truthfully, of their rights.

I hope you will find this information useful!

PAVE wrote a letter to Carolinas Medical Center regarding the legality of the erythromycin drops and vitamin K injection, and Suzanne Freeman, president, replied. She said

"...the North Carolina Administrative Code requires in Section 15A N.C.A.C. 19A.0204(f) that all newborn infants be treated prophylactically against gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum in accordance with the STD Treatment Guidelines of the U.S. Public Health Service. Such treatment guidelines include administering erythromycin to the eyes of all newborns no later than one hour after birth."

She said, "Vitamin K shots are not required by state law, but they are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics as the standard of care for newborns."

If you would like to look up details on the vitamin K injection in the Physician's Desk Reference, here is some information from a registered nurse:

AquaMEPHYTON Injection(Phytonadione) is how it's found in the PDR. The oral and the injectable are very much the same, except for the properties which make it a tablet. If a mom has a diet with good Vit. K intake (eggs, alphalfa sprouts, etc.) then there would be no reason to consider it.


The following links are for informational purposes only. The decison of whether or not to allow vitamin K to be given to your newborn is yours alone.

Merck package insert to Vitamin K:

Newborn Screening Statute
(North Carolina)

Note paragraph (b) which reads (in part):
"...screening shall not be required when the parents or the guardian of the infant object to such screening. If the parents or guardian object to the screening, the objection shall be presented in writing to the physician or other person responsible for administering the test, who shall place the written objection in the infant's medical record."

§ 130A-125. Screening of newborns for metabolic and other
hereditary and congenital disorders.
(a)The Department shall establish and administer a
Newborn Screening Program. The program shall include, but shall
not be limited to:
(1) Development and distribution of educational
materials regarding the availability and benefits
of newborn screening.
(2) Provision of laboratory testing.
(3) Development of follow-up protocols to assure early
treatment for identified children, and the
provision of genetic counseling and support
services for the families of identified children.
(4) Provision of necessary dietary treatment products
or medications for identified children as medically
indicated and when not otherwise available.
(5) For each newborn, provision of physiological
screening in each ear for the presence of permanent
hearing loss.
(b) The Commission shall adopt rules necessary to implement
the Newborn Screening Program. The rules shall include, but
shall not be limited to, the conditions for which screening
shall be required, provided that screening shall not be required
when the parents or the guardian of the infant object to such
screening. If the parents or guardian object to the screening,
the objection shall be presented in writing to the physician or
other person responsible for administering the test, who shall
place the written objection in the infant's medical record.
(b1)The Commission for Health Services shall adopt temporary
and permanent rules to include newborn hearing screening in the
Newborn Screening Program established under this section.
(c) The Department may impose a fee for a laboratory test
performed pursuant to this section by the State Public Health
Laboratory. A fee for a test must be based on the actual cost of
performing the test. Fees collected shall remain in the
Department to be used to offset the cost of the Newborn
Screening Program. (1991, c. 661, s. 1; 1991 (Reg. Sess.,
1992), c. 1039, s. 6; 1998-131, s. 13; 2000-67, s. 11.31(a).)


Question from parent: I have a boy born at 35 weeks on Oct 2, 2004. He was healthy, no lung/breathing/heart problems. Good birth weight at 6.5 lbs. However, doctor is recommending the Synagis vaccine for preventing RSV since he was born at start of RSV season. In order to decide whether to vaccinate him or not, I am researching what, if any, serious adverse reactions there have been to the Synagis vaccine since introduced in 1998.

Answer: The package insert can be found at

The insert contains warnings and contraindications to this product.