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Olean General Hospital Advocates for Early Hepatitis B Vaccinations in Newborns

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) expects 80% compliance for newborn hepatitis B vaccinations within 12 hours of birth. In 2015, Olean General Hospital was just reaching that goal and noting high rates of hepatitis B vaccine declinations, mainly due to poor parental education on vaccine myths and physician recommendations that conflicted with best practices for early protection of newborns against hepatitis B exposure.

Olean General Hospital launched re-education aimed at increasing vaccinations. Local DOH officials met with the hospital’s obstetric and pediatric providers to identify best practices for vaccinating newborns within 12 hours of birth. Conversations for nurse-parent interactions, explaining the importance of early immunization, were scripted. Furthermore, staff educated parents in prepared childhood classes, dispelling myths associated with immunizations, and increasing understanding of hepatitis B and its risks to newborns.

In 2015, there were 99 hepatitis B vaccine declinations out of 744 births, a 13% declination rate. In 2016, that dropped to 54 declinations out of 754 births, a 7% declination rate, and a 6% decrease over 2015. Improved communication between nursing and patients increased patient satisfaction, with standard nursing scores at 88.9%.

For more information, contact Karen McGovern-Graham, R.N., B.S.N., Director of Surgical Services, Olean General Hospital, at (716) 375-6282 or at kmcgoverng@ogh.org.