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Members of the Perinatal and Pharmacy Teams who work to keep babies safe.

Upson Honored for Hepatitis B Vaccine Birth Dose Rate

Upson Regional Medical Center has been recognized by the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health for achieving one of the highest reported rates in the state for its work to protect newborns from hepatitis B virus infection.

“We are one of only 12 hospitals in the state and the only hospital in our area to achieve such high marks,” said Chief Nursing Officer Evelyn Murphy. “I am incredibly proud of our team of doctors and nurses and their commitment to ensuring babies born at our hospital receive the best in care.”

Upson is the newest entry into IAC’s Birth Dose Honor Roll (www.immunize.org/honor-roll/birthdose), which recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that have attained high coverage levels for administering the hepatitis B vaccine at birth. Upson immunized 97 percent of babies between October 2014 and October 2015, while taking additional steps to prevent perinatal transmission of hepatitis B.

The national standard of care to prevent hepatitis B virus infection in babies is to administer hepatitis B vaccine to all newborns before they leave the hospital or birthing center. This standard is being adopted by centers of healthcare excellence nationwide as a safety net to protect newborns from a wide range of medical errors that lead to babies being unprotected from perinatal hepatitis B infection.

“Hospitals and birthing centers have a responsibility to protect babies from life-threatening hepatitis B infection,” said Deborah Wexler, MD, executive director and founder of IAC. “Upson’s commitment to the best practice of hepatitis B vaccination at birth has shown them to be a leader in preventing the transmission of the hepatitis B virus.”