The vitamin K shot is not a vaccine.
Does the Vitamin K Shot Contain 100mcg of Aluminum?
Newborns have been routinely getting vitamin K shots since at least since 1961.
And except for a brief “vitamin K brouhaha” in the early 1990s, when a study suggested that vitamin K shots might be associated with childhood cancer (they aren’t), these shots have helped to nearly eradicate hemorrhagic disease of the newborn.
So why would someone want to skip it?
The photo above suggests that they think newborns get too much aluminum from the shot. If you look closely though, you can see why they are wrong.
The vial and package insert of vitamin K clearly states that it contains no more than 100 mcg/L of aluminum.
What’s a baby’s dose of vitamin K? They don’t get a liter! They get a single IM shot of 1mg of vitamin K, or 0.5ml.
So they are obviously not getting 100mcg of aluminum.
Do you see why?
With a concentration of 100 mcg/L or 100 mcg/1000ml (remember that one liter is equal to 1000 milliliters), since they are only getting a 0.5ml dose of vitamin K, they are getting, at most, only 0.05 mcg of aluminum.
That’s 0.00005 mg of aluminum, as compared to the 0.225mg of aluminum in the Hib vaccine.
Why is aluminum even added to vitamin K?
Keep in mind that aluminum isn’t even listed as an ingredient of vitamin K. But according to FDA rules, “Applicants and manufacturers must use validated assay methods to determine the aluminum content in parenteral drug products.” .
And like many other IV fluids, another ingredient of vitamin K, 5% dextrous hydrous (sugar water), does often contain some aluminum, about 17.3mcg/L. These small amounts of aluminum are present “because practically all materials used to manufacture containers for pharmaceuticals contain Al.” From aluminum oxide in glass components to aluminum used as catalysts to make plastics, it is hard to avoid aluminum. But as we have learned that premature babies could get total parenteral nutrition for prolonged periods of time and be exposed to too much aluminum, the FDA has taken steps to limit this exposure.
Unfortunately, some of those steps, like the labeling of aluminum in vitamin K ampules is used to scare parents.
What to Know About Aluminum in the Vitamin K Shot
Neither the trace amounts of aluminum or any other ingredient in your baby’s vitamin K shot shouldn’t keep you from protecting him from vitamin K deficiency bleeding.
More on Aluminum in the Vitamin K Shot
- 7 Vitamin K Myths Busted
- Vitamin K Shots for Newborns: Questions and Answers
- Vaccine Ingredients – Aluminum
- CDC – Facts about Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding
- CDC – Vitamin K Shot – Essential in Preventing Serious Bleeding in Newborns
- Are the Ingredients in the Newborn Vitamin K Shot Safe?
- Review – Characterizing the Severe Reactions of Parenteral Vitamin K1
- CDC – Frequently Asked Questions: Vitamin K and the Vitamin K Shot Given at Birth
- CDC – Notes from the Field: Late Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding in Infants Whose Parents Declined Vitamin K Prophylaxis — Tennessee, 2013
- Study – Reasons for Refusal of Newborn Vitamin K Prophylaxis: Implications for Management and Education
- Study – Rise in late onset vitamin K deficiency bleeding in young infants because of omission or refusal of prophylaxis at birth.
- Baby dies because mother refused newborn vitamin K shot
- Vitamin K Refusal – The New Anti-Vax
- Separating Fact From Fiction in the Not-So-Normal Newborn Nursery: Vitamin K Shots
- Evidence on: The Vitamin K Shot in Newborns
- Here’s The Truth About Vitamin K For Newborns
- The terrifying result of refusing newborn Vitamin K
- Parents Say No to Vitamin K Shots, Babies Get Brain Damage
- Cochrane Report – Prophylactic vitamin K for vitamin K deficiency bleeding in neonates
- AAP – Where We Stand: Administration of Vitamin K
- Study – Neonatal Vitamin K Refusal and Nonimmunization
- What parents should know about newborn tests and vaccinations
- Are Pediatricians Complicit in Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding?
- Factors Associated With Refusal of Intramuscular Vitamin K in Normal Newborns
- Prophylactic Dosing of Vitamin K to Prevent Bleeding
- FDA – Aluminum in Large and Small Volume Parenterals Used in Total Parenteral Nutrition
- Study – Aluminum content in intravenous solutions for administration to neonates: role of product preparation and administration methods.