The New York State Department of Health and the Onondaga County Department of Health visited Crouse Hospital’s Kienzle Family Maternity Center last week to present a certificate of excellence to the hospital for its higher than average birth dose rates to newborns against hepatitis B, a serious infection that affects the liver and can result in chronic infection or death.
Peggy Conwell, PHR, (left to right) from the New York State Department of Health, and Wendy Czajak, RN, BSN, from the Onondaga County Department of Health, presented the certificate to Barbara Miller, RN, director of women’s and infant’s services; Luanne Parker, RN, newborn nursery supervisor; and Amy Richards, RN, nurse manager of 7 Irving.
Babies normally get three doses of hepatitis B vaccine: the 1st dose at birth; a 2nd dose at one to two months of age; and a third dose at six to 18 months of age. It’s imperative that a newborn receives the first dosing within 12 hours after birth.
“As the leader in deliveries in Central New York, Crouse is committed to playing an important role in our babies lives right from the start,” said Barbara Miller, director of women’s and children’s services. “We take our responsibility to provide this important immunization very seriously, and I thank our Kienzle team for carrying it out.”
Hepatitis B is a serious infection that affects the liver. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus. • In 2009, about 38,000 people became infected with hepatitis B. Each year about 2,000 to 4,000 people die in the United States from cirrhosis or liver cancer caused by hepatitis B.
Some people go on to develop chronic hepatitis B infection, which is more common among infants and children than among adults. People who are chronically infected can spread hepatitis B virus to others, even if they don’t look or feel sick.
Routine hepatitis B vaccination was recommended for some U.S. adults and children beginning in 1982, and for all children in 1991. Since 1990, new hepatitis B infections among children and adolescents have dropped by more than 95 percent – and by 75 percent in other age groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccination gives long-term protection from hepatitis B infection, possibly lifelong.
The presentation coincided with World Immunization Week, which aims to promote one of the world’s most powerful tools for health – the use of vaccines to protect, or “immunize,” people of all ages against disease. Immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions and prevents between two and three million deaths every year.
From infants to senior citizens, immunization protects against diseases such as diphtheria, measles, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhea, rubella and tetanus. The benefits of immunization are increasingly being extended to adolescents and adults, providing protection against life-threatening diseases such as influenza, meningitis, and cancers (cervical and liver cancers).
Even now, an estimated 22 million infants are not fully immunized with routine vaccines, and more than 1.5 million children under 5 die from diseases that could be prevented by existing vaccines, according to the World Health Organization.
Immunization Guidelines for Children