FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 18, 2014
Queens Hospital Center Honored for Efforts to Fight Hepatitis B in Infants
99 Percent of Infants Born at QHC Vaccinated for Hep B
| Dr. Marcy Stein Albert, Director of Pediatrics, Queens Hospital with members of the pediatric nursing
Queens, NY ― Queens Hospital Center (QHC), part of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, has been recognized by the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) for achieving one of the highest rates in New York State of hepatitis B vaccination for infants. Ninety-nine percent of the babies born at QHC from December 1, 2012 to November 30, 2013 were immunized for hepatitis B, and the hospital took additional steps to prevent perinatal transmission of the virus.
“A 99 percent coverage rate for newborns receiving the hepatitis B vaccine is truly a remarkable achievement,” said Julius Wool, Executive Director of Queens Hospital Center. “This is a collaborative effort between our Nursing and Pediatric Departments to ensure that all newborns receive the vaccine prior to discharge from the hospital. Dr. Marcy Stein-Albert, Director of Pediatrics, has led the way in tracking the course of care for each infant born here, and raising our compliance rate.”
With the recognition, QHC becomes one of only two hospitals in New York City to be listed in the IAC’s “Birth Dose Honor Roll,” which recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that have high rates for administering the hepatitis B vaccine to newborn infants.
The hepatitis B birth dose is recommended by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 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.
“QHC’s listing in the Honor Roll is an enormous peer acknowledgment in the immunization community,” said Marcy Stein-Albert, MD, Director of Pediatrics at Queens Hospital Center. “I am immensely proud of our near-100 percent hepatitis B immunization rate among babies, knowing that our policy will help prevent mother-to-infant transmission, will help prevent household transmission, and will provide protection in the event of medical errors.”
“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. “Queens Hospital Center’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.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, a comprehensive strategy to eliminate hepatitis B virus transmission was recommended in 1991. The strategy includes prenatal testing of pregnant women for HBsAg, the surface antigen of the hepatitis B virus, to identify newborns who require immunoprophylaxis for prevention of perinatal infection; identification of household contacts who should be vaccinated; routine vaccination of infants; vaccination of adolescents; and vaccination of adults at high risk for infection. Recommendations to further enhance vaccination of adults at increased risk of HBV infection were published in 2006.
The Immunization Action Coalition, a non-profit organization, is the nation’s premier source of child, teen, and adult immunization information for healthcare professionals and their patients. The IAC works to increase immunization rates and prevent disease by creating and distributing educational materials for health professionals and the public to enhance the delivery of safe and effective immunization services. It also facilitates communication about the safety, efficacy, and use of vaccines within the broad immunization community of patients, parents, healthcare organizations, and government health agencies. The IAC launched the Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll in July 2013.